Smyth County

Fire leaves man without a place to stay

SMYTH CO., Va. - For more than 35-years Charles Keith lived on River Road in Chilhowie, Virginia, but it all changed when a fire broke out in his laundry room Saturday morning.

"It consumed the whole house in no time," says Keith.

We talked to the Chilhowie Volunteer Fire Department and crews tell us the house sustained a lot of damage, "We used a thermal imaging camera to try to see where the fire was going and to find the seed of it," says firefighter Austin Mason.

The cold temperatures were also a concern for firefighters as they battled the blaze, "You got water along with it and you get wet while you're inside you come out and you start getting cold from then on. It kind of takes a toll on you when it's really cold and things start to freeze," adds Mason.

Keith says he does not insurance on the house and is now trying to find a place to stay, "My main concern is to find me another place. I have lived independent for years and I live alone."

Spending many hours helping other in his community, Keith is now hoping someone will step up and help him, "My main goal for years was to help others. I've worked with people in the nursing homes and people in the hospital, so if anyone could help me I would sure appreciate it."

Firefighters tell us the cause of the fire is still under investigation though they believe it was electrical.

The American Red Cross stepped in to help Keith. For ways you can help fire victims like Keith call the Mountain Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross at (276) 645-6650.


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