Tryon family seeks help after house damaged in fire

Published 1:57 pm Friday, December 17, 2010

A fire Saturday night, Dec. 11, caused a Tryon family to lose its home just two weeks before Christmas.

Nancy and William Johnson were out of town over the weekend. The only person in the house at the time was the Johnsons daughter, who escaped without injury.

The Johnsons are now staying with a son in his one-bedroom apartment.

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Local fire departments responded to 525 East Howard Street at 11:09 p.m. Saturday night after receiving the call at 11:03 p.m.

Tryon Fire Chief Joey Davis says the investigation indicates that a space heater may have caused the fire. He says the majority of the damage was confined to the upstairs and attic area.

Family member Sarah Miller says her granddaughter called her Saturday night, saying she woke up to a fire and ran outside with no shoes on.

According to Miller, the house burned from the kitchen to the back room of the house and the ceiling is gone.

It burned from one corner to the other, Miller said.

Miller said the firefighters were great Saturday night; they got there quickly and handed out blankets to people who needed them. She said they didnt leave the scene until almost 2 a.m.

The Tryon Fire Department was assisted Saturday night by the Tryon Police Department and Columbus and Saluda fire departments.

The Polk County Chapter of the American Red Cross gave the Johnsons about $200, Miller said, to purchase food, but she said the family is in desperate need of money to repair the house.

The couple used to carry homeowners insurance, Miller said, but had to drop it recently after William Johnson lost his job. Nancy Johnson is the only family member employed currently.

Anyone wishing to help the Johnson family is urged to call Miller at 828-859-5573 or mail donations to 525 E. Howard Street, Tryon, NC 28782. The Johnsons can be reached at 864-266-7433.