A 161-year-old pre-Civil War mansion burned to the ground Feb. 20, leaving a Washington County family unharmed, but searching for a new place to live.
Dispatchers received a call about 2:20 a.m. from an occupant who reported black smoke and fire coming from the two-story frame home at 4290 Bloomfield Road.
The home is owned by New Zealand native Mike Crawshaw and his family.
“[My wife] woke up to the sound of exploding glass,” Crawshaw said “She came into the living room and the top of it was already filled with smoke.”
Crawshaw, who was not home at the time of the fire, said his wife and three children were able to safely escape the burning home.
He said his 2-year-old and 7-year-old sons suffered no injuries. His 14-year-old daughter suffered only slight burns to her face and eyebrows.
“My wife was sick for a time afterwards,” Crawshaw said. “She probably inhaled too much smoke.”
Fire crews were able to salvage only a few personal items, Crawshaw said, including some photos in his daughter’s room.
A 100-year-old church pew snapped in half as fire crews tried to remove the family relic from the house. Some frozen contents in freezer at the home were charred to dust, Crawshaw said.
“It just shows you the intensity of the fire,”he said.
Arson investigators were at the property earlier this week to perform routine inspections. The fire is believed to have started in the area near the utility room.
The Crawshaws are staying at Hampton Inn in Lebanon until more permanent accommodations can be arranged.
In spring 2012, the circa-1852 southern plantation home was listed for sale with Rector Hayden Realtors for $685,000.
The property was advertised as a 5,000 square-feet property on 169 acres overlooking a scenic valley. The home featured four bedrooms, intricate woodwork and hardwood flooring throughout.
It boasted original period fireplaces and seven Greek revival mantles.
Three brick chimneys are all that remain of the property.
The listing also included five ponds, three barns, two log cabins and a 45-acre pine forest.
Real estate agent David Humes said the property is still for sale. Price adjustments to the property likely won’t be made until insurance estimates are finalized, he said.
Humes said the site can be subdivided into several smaller tracts.
“But the past few days, we’ve just been struggling to survive,” Crawshaw said. “We just need to move out of the hotel we’re in and get into a house.”
Crawshaw said he is humbled by the support he’s received from the local community.
In addition to several donations of toys and other items, Crawshaw said a total stranger dropped off a cake with some honey and a kind note.
“The people in Washington County have been outstanding with their generosity,” he said.