The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 27, 2013

Blaze destroys lake house

Cause of fire undetermined

By Ritchie E. Starnes, News Editor

Friday, December 27, 2013 — NORWOOD - The cause of a fire that destroyed a lake house in Norwood Thursday night remains undetermined.

Investigators concluded that the 8 p.m. blaze at 9723 Pine Tree Drive originated on an open deck, but have yet to pinpoint the exact cause, according to Michael Roark, Stanly County fire marshal.

“The fire originated on the back deck and progressed through the house,” Roark said. “Cause of the fire is undetermined, but not suspicious in any way. We just couldn’t nail down an exact cause.”

There are three possible causes, all stemming from a potpourri burner that was located on an exterior deck, Roark said. The device reportedly is similar to a crock pot with a built-in lamp, he said.

A drop cord connected to the burner was run through a window and into the house.

“What we can’t rule out is if there was a malfunction with the potpourri burner or if some combustible material came in contact with the device or cord,” Roark said.

The other possibility is the cord itself. Roark said there could have been a malfunction with the cord the generated enough heat to cause the fire.

At least two people were in the house at the time of the blaze, Roark said. They called 911 as soon as they observed the fire.

“It pretty much destroyed the house,” said Vaughan Rummage, fire chief of Norwood Center Rural volunteer fire department.

There was no need for Red Cross services.

“The lake house is a secondary home with the owners having another place to stay,” Roark said.

In addition to Center Rural as the primary responders, firefighters from Norwood (city) and Aquadale also responded to the fire.