Breaker box ignites family’s home of 35 years

Flames break through the front window and door of the Smoak family’s home as Barnwell Rural Fire Chief Jessie Elmore communicates with firefighters.

Flames break through the front window and door of the Smoak family’s home as Barnwell Rural Fire Chief Jessie Elmore communicates with firefighters.

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery - Managing Editor

An electrical short is being blamed for a fire that destroyed the Smoak family's home last week.
Jerry and Cheryl Smoak were asleep inside their Reynolds Road home when the home's breaker panel caught fire. They were awakened by their daughter Jessica after the television and lamp went off, said Cheryl.
That's when they noticed smoke in the laundry room where the breaker panel is housed and paint bubbling on the wall, said Barnwell Rural Fire Chief Jessie Elmore.
That wall soon ignited and the family called 911 around 12:20 a.m.
Within minutes, firefighters from the Barnwell Rural, Hilda and Long Branch departments arrived at 2020 Reynolds Road home to fight the fire, which "gutted" a majority of the home, Elmore said.
The fire was under control in approximately 45 minutes, but firefighters were on scene for several hours, Elmore said.
Cheryl Smoak said her family has lived there for 35 years.