Fire destroys Waynesville home
The remains of a body were recovered from a home that was destroyed in a fire overnight Wednesday.
Early Friday, the victim was identified as Jay Twomey, who owned the home with his wife, Linda.
Authorities still have no firm cause of the fire, but believe the origin was in the area of a grill where the couple had grilled out earlier that evening.
The homeowner called 9-1-1 around 3 a.m. Wednesday and by the time the first fire truck made it to the scene, there was heavy fire on the left side of the large home, located at 209 Shining Rock Trail off Eagle's Nest Road, said Waynesville Fire Chief Joey Webb.
It's believed the fire may have started in or near the kitchen, but the exact origin or cause is still undetermined.The home was occupied by the homeowners, who are married.
The woman made it out of the home along with her husband, but she told authorities she left him for a few moments to find the dog and when she returned he was gone.The woman told authorities the couple had grilled out earlier that night.
The main part of the house, along with a garage that contained two cars, were destroyed in the fire. Firefighters were able to keep the flames from destroying the large guest house and another garage, which were attached to the main house.
It was difficult to drive the large fire trucks up to the home, which required navigating steep mountain roads, sharp switchbacks and few water access points, Webb said.
The closest fire hydrant was several hundred feet from the driveway. One tanker had to fill up with water and then pump the water out into a large tub. Then another tanker would suck up that water to use on the fire.
Firefighters from almost every fire department in the county were on the scene and remained on standby most of the day.
The home was surrounded by thick woods, which could have easily gone up in flames and caused a wildfire as well if the fire had occurred just a few months ago when the grass wasn't as green.
The Waynesville Police Department is handling the investigation along with the State Bureau of Investigation and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Lt. Chris Chandler with the Waynesville Police Department, who is also assistant fire chief at the Saunook Fire Department, said any time there is a fire of this magnitude, state officials usually assist with the investigation.
Firefighters worked to cool down the ashes before detectives could begin their investigation.
"Late this evening, we were able to begin the investigative process of digging through the fire scene and that's when the recovery was made," Chandler said Wednesday around 9 p.m.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation and the remains of the body are being sent to the medical examiner for identification.
So far, the case has not arisen to the point of suspicion, Chandler said.