CARRABELLE, Fla. (The Apalachicola Times) — A large two-story home just west of Carrabelle went up in flames early Sunday morning, leaving no one hurt and only the carport and garage still standing.
According to Carl Whaley, the chief of the Carrabelle Volunteer Fire Department, the department received a call at 2:48 a.m. Sunday a fire was raging at 193 River Road. which is on the twisting Carrabelle River, on its western shore, just northwest of U.S. 98.
“When we arrived, the whole east-northeast end of the house was pretty much gone and the whole house was engulfed,” said Whaley.
After Carrabelle arrived with its three trucks, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office notified Eastpoint for mutual aid, and that department brought three trucks to assist in suppression and to keep the fire out of the woods and away from neighboring homes.
“We succeeded in saving a carport and garage of the main fire structure area and no neighboring structures were affected,” Whaley said.
In addition to the rapid response by the sheriff’s office and the Carrabelle Police Department, Whaley praised the fast response of Duke Energy, which cut down considerably on how long it took for firefighters to address the areas where electrocution could be a factor.
“We found the area where power was coming into the house but we were not able to disconnect it,” he said. “The fire suppression was slowed down a little bit as we tried to keep the surrounding stuff cooled down.
“Duke Energy has been good at providing the fastest response,” Whaley said.
After putting out the blaze that had engulfed the entire empty house, the department received a follow-up call at about 5:22 p.m. Sunday.
“There were small hot spots that had popped back up because of debris left underneath,” Whaley said. “But that was taken care of after about two hours.”
He said the two-story home on stilts is about 4,529 total square feet and is owned by Whitney and Adam Thomas Barfield of Carrabelle. It was built in 1989 by Barfield’s parents Gill and Brenda Barfield.
According to the website of Property Appraiser Rhonda Skipper, the building was assessed for 2024 at $327,576, with its extra features valued at another $18,517.
The land is worth $212,500, according to the property appraiser, for a total market value of $558,233, and an assessed value of $393,214.
Whaley said that while the house was empty, with no injuries or loss of life resulting from the blaze, it had recently been leased to a family for a long-term stay.
“The people were on their way with a U-haul load of their things,” he said. “They’re kind of stuck without a place to lay their heads.”