ROGERSVILLE — The Friday morning fire that destroyed a historic 93-year-old Hawkins County home in the rural Eidson community was described as “suspicious” by Clinch Valley Fire Chief Steve Seal.
Around 7:21 a.m., the Clinch Valley VFD was dispatched to 4525 Highway 70-N, Eidson, which is located near the Hancock County line on the north side of Clinch Mountain.
The Victorian style home was built in 1925 by Dr. Albert Miller and had the distinction of being the first catalog prefab house in the county.
According to Hawkins County historian Henry Price, the house was ordered from a Sears Roebuck catalog, delivered to Rogersville by train and carried in pieces by wagons over Clinch Mountain, where it was erected.
After Miller’s death, the house was converted into a store and gristmill, but recently it was listed for sale as an 1,842-square-foot residence with four bedrooms and one bath on 10 acres for $124,900.
Seal told the Times News that when he arrived on the scene Friday morning, the house was completely engulfed in flames. Firefighters couldn’t approach the house at first due to downed live power lines, and by the time the electricity was cut off and they could attack the blaze, it was a total loss.
“The exact cause is unknown,” Seal said. “Arson is a possibility because nobody lived there, and most of the time if it’s an electrical fire, it will start near the fuse box or in the area that the meter base is on the structure.
“The person who called in the fire said the flames were on the second floor, dead center of the house, so that tells me the fire started upstairs, dead center of the house, which all but rules out the cause as being electrical.”
Volunteer fire departments from Striggersville, Panther Creek, Treadway and Lakeview assisted at the scene.
Seal said the house was known by many as “the old Mayor’s Mansion,” but he doesn’t know how it got that name.
“It was a local landmark and I hate to see it gone,” he said. “We tried our best to save it.”
Seal added, “When I got on scene, it was fully engulfed. Fire was all over, and the top was starting to fall into the center. There was no way of saving the structure.”
Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tony Allen said the fire isn’t being investigated as arson at this time.