Wednesday, 13 January 2021 16:39

FIRE CHIEF: Cause of Rockingham fire unknown; may have started in attic

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Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler believes a fire at a former nursing home started in the attic of the two-story building. Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler believes a fire at a former nursing home started in the attic of the two-story building. Contributed by Ozzy Graham

ROCKINGHAM — The cause of a fire that brought out two departments Tuesday evening has yet to be determined.


Fire Chief Harold Isler said the fire was spotted by the Rockingham Police Department and was reported around 6:59 p.m. as a commercial structure fire.

When fire crews arrived, flames were through the roof of the two-story building which was once the site of a nursing home on the corner of County Home Road and Long Drive.

Cordova Fire and Rescue was called for mutual aid in battling the blaze.

Isler credits the use of his department’s ladder truck for helping get the fire under control.

He said there had been reports of homeless people staying in the abandoned building, but no bodies were found after several sweeps were made.

None of the surrounding buildings were damaged in the fire.

Firefighters finally cleared the scene around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The chief said he believes the fire started in the attic.

While the cause is not yet known, Isler said the property owner — who had plans to demolish the building — reported that there had been crews on site for electrical work.

After consulting with Police Chief Billy Kelly, Isler said he decided not to call in the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation or the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The fire is still under investigation.