Burke home gutted by fire, happened as power was restored

ICARD, NC (WBTV) - Michael Stump got a room for his family to stay in Wednesday night because their mobile home had been without power since Monday.

Around 9 p.m. he got a call that the electricity had been restored.  Before he could get back, another call came in about his home.

"They said it was on fire," Stump said.

The inside area near kitchen was gutted by flames. Damage is extensive enough that the owner who rented to Stump believes it is a total loss.

Investigators think it was started by the electric stove. They believe a top burner switch was still in the "on" position from Monday when the power went out.

"It's an easy thing to forget," said Icard Township Fire Chief Brand Lingerfelt.

In a rush to get to safety, people may not remember what was turned on when the power went off. Once power is restored a surge is possible and that can sometimes start a fire, said Lingerfelt.

The storm hit when many people were starting to cook dinner and Lingerfelt is concerned that stoves in other homes may still be turned on.

He urges homeowners to remember to unplug everything and make sure all appliances are off when they leave a home where power has been lost.

In most cases, he says, there will not be a fire or damage to appliances, but it can happen. It did Wednesday night.

Stump says if something was still in the "on" position, he did not realize it. He says he lost about everything and now is looking for a new place to live.

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