|Blaze destroys Greenwood dairy farmer's guest house Wednesday|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Sept. 15, 2005 -- A mid afternoon blaze consumed a dairy farmer’s guest house in the Greenwood community Wednesday, leaving only ashes and part of the chimney of the mostly wooden structure. Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire, nor were any personal belongings destroyed along with the house. An initial assessment by fire officials indicated the fire to be accidental, although the cause was still undetermined early Wednesday evening.
Freddie and Heidi Huisman, originally from Holland, had purchased the wood frame house originally owned by George Castle in the 1920s, along with a nearby dairy farm just two months ago. The Huismans have been living at and operating the dairy, and were planning to turn the small Greenwood house located just off 3019 on County Road 3369 into a place where their parents could feel at home while visiting them, according to Heidi.
So far, only the utilities, including the electricity, had been turned on but the Huismans had yet to move any furniture into the building. Also, the house was insured locally, so the Huismans should be able to rebuild or at least receive compensation for the loss.
The fire was reported at 3 p.m. to authorities at 3 p.m. by a neighbor who noticed the smoke and fire from his property, which is separated from the house by a pasture. Pickton-Pine Forest, Brinker and Hopkins County firefighters were immediately dispatched to the location.
Meanwhile, another neighbor, Amy Sustaire, saw smoke from the family farm located across the back pasture. Sustaire said she drove toward it to try to determine the cause, noticing heavy smoke coming from the house. When she pulled up, the back of the house was blazing.
When the first fire trucks arrived, the house was “fully involved and the roof was coming in,” according to Pickton-Pine Forest Volunteer firefighter Blake Jordan who was among the first on scene. The fire had spread to the pastures behind and on both sides of the house, and an electric line stretching from a pole to the house was laying on the ground in the burning grass.
The fire soon caused the house to collapse, and firefighters focused on extinguishing the blaze around it as well as the pasture fires to keep it from spreading any further and presenting more danger.
Fire crews remained at the location for at least two hours.
According to Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix, an initial assessment of the blaze turned up nothing that would make it suspicious. Steve Caudle, investigator for Hopkins County fire department, was slated to examine the site Thursday to try to determine the cause.
Joanne Castle Agee, descendant of original resident George Castle, said she cried upon seeing the old family home place burn. Both Agee and her brother still live in Greenwood not far from the old Castle family home.
She said the property had been remodeled a number of times over the years. One major renovation included the addition of a bathroom, as the original six-room house was built without one. Agee said that although the house has changed hands a few times over the years, including being sold out of the family, seeing the old Castle home place burn was still difficult for her.