The home of Groveland residents David and Melissa Shuman and their four children was lost due to a fire around midnight on Monday. This marks the second major house fire this month in Bryan County.
Their residence lies almost exactly on the Bryan-Bulloch line at 552 Porter Road off Groveland-Nevils County Road.
Mr. Shuman said he and his family were sleeping when the smoke alarm went off. He awoke to find his double wide filling with smoke. "I grabbed my kids together and got out quick," he said. "Fortunately, nobody got hurt."
Their home, however, was not so fortunate. Shuman said most of the contents of the children’s’ rooms were minimally damaged, but the rest of the home was a total loss.
Mr. Shuman said the couple’s 15-year-old daughter Brittney was staying at her grandmother’s house, so he and wife moved quickly to evacuate 16-year-old Joshua, 14-year-old Brandon, and 8-year-old Kristin.
Shuman said one of the firemen told him the fire appeared to have started at or around the breaker panel in the wash room located at the rear of the home.
Bryan County Assistant Fire Chief Otis Willis said the blaze is still under investigation but the burn pattern indicates it did indeed ignite in the utility area at the rear of the home.
Willis said about 25 firemen and six trucks from four different departments responded: Bryan, Pembroke and two from Bulloch. He said he was pleased with the fact that firefighters were able to control the blaze quickly enough to salvage a portion of the home.
The Shumans were taken in by relatives and are hopeful their insurance company will help them as they look toward a new home. They have spent the better part of the last couple of days trying to salvage what they can from the children’s rooms. "We’re worn out," he said. "We haven’t had much sleep since this happened. This was the only home we’ve known for the last 13 years, so it’s real tough on all of us."
If you would like to help the family, donations can be made by calling 663-4806.
The prior incident was Oct. 3 when an older wood frame home on Cypress Bay Road off Harveytown Road in Pembroke became completely engulfed in flames, according to
Bryan County Assistant Fire Chief Otis Willis. Willis said the homeowner, a single male, was not home at the time and was actually in the process of moving out before the incident occurred. The cause of fire is unknown and the matter is currently under investigation.
Before these two fires, things were pretty calm for county firefighters with the last reported major fires being two Richmond Hill homes in July. "We were blessed there for a while there," he said. "Hopefully these two will mark the only major fires we have for a while."