Chief: Old wiring may have caused house fire

by nathan oster

A home on Second Avenue North sustained heavy damage in a Tuesday morning fire.

Tesa Searfoss and Robert Duval were watching TV in their living room, having just returned home from a vacation, when they saw and smelled smoke.  They got up to investigate, Tesa going one way, Robert the other.

“I came around the corner, toward our room, and a big flame shot out,” said Robert.

They made it out safely. So, too, did their two dogs and one cat.

Firefighters arrived soon after and were able to get the fire put out, although most of the house sustained some combination of smoke or water damage.

Bill Scott, the Greybull fire chief, was out of town and did not respond to the call, but said firefighters on scene verified that the fire originated in the bedroom and speculated that it might been caused by old wiring that was overloaded.

By that evening, Tesa and Robert had found temporary lodging at the Greybull Motel. They were expecting to be able to move into a house owned by the motel owners the following morning.  They didn’t know how long they’d get to stay.

“Hopefully the insurance comes through and we find a place to rent,” she said.

Tesa said their bedroom was “a total loss” — and with it went “all our clothes, the kids’ clothes and our TV.”

As she watched her house burn earlier in the day, Tesa wondered about the fate of her turtles.

Hours later, she was happy to report, “We were able to save them, so they got out alive, too.”

Tesa said she appreciates the many ways the community is trying to help them in the aftermath of the fire.

She knows from experience that life goes on.

Eleven years ago, her house on the Greybull Heights was lost in a fire.

“At first (this morning) I was a little shaken, but you know what … I can replace it all,” she said.