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Fire destroys home overlooking city
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A roughly 80-year-old home overlooking the Martinsville hydroelectric dam burned Tuesday night. The house, which was vacant, was built by the late Tom C. Matthews, former clerk of court in Henry County. In addition to the house, about 5 or 10 acres burned, said Horsepasture Fire Chief Charlie Bradshaw.(Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


A roughly 80-year-old home on the hillside overlooking the Martinsville hydroelectric dam burned Tuesday night.

The blaze destroyed the home, which sat on a hill behind Andy’s Rental on U.S. 58 just past the cloverleaf intersection with U.S. 220 south of Martinsville, according to Charlie Bradshaw, chief of the Horsepasture District Volunteer Fire Department.

“We don’t have a clue what started it,” Bradshaw said, adding that Henry County Fire Marshal Pete Draper was on the scene.

The fire started around 9:30 p.m. and set the brush on fire “all the way around, down towards the (Smith) river and woods,” Bradshaw said.

He estimated that the brush fire burned 5-10 acres.

The blaze was about 90 percent contained shortly after 10 p.m., he said.

The house is owned by Lil Doyle of Henry County and had been vacant for some time, she said in a recent interview.

The home was built by the late Tom C. Matthews, clerk of the court in Henry County, Doyle said. His grandson, Thomas C. Matthews said recently that he understands the home was built in the 1930s.

Doyle said her husband, the late Wilbur Doyle, bought the property for timber for his lumber company in the 1960s. The couple never lived there.

Responding to the fire scene Tuesday, in addition to the Horsepasture fire department, were the Horsepasture and Bassett rescue squads, Ridgeway Fire Department, Henry County Public Safety Department, Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Martinsville Police Department, Virginia Forestry Department and students from an EMT class, Bradshaw said.


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