Fire reported at Knightdale fire chief’s home

mhankerson@newsobserver.comDecember 13, 2013 

MECHELLE HANKERSON — mhankerson@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— It was just recently that fire Chief Tim Guffey reminded his daughter he didn’t like candles in the house.

“I told her it was going to be embarrassing if the fire chief's house burned down,” he said. “I guess that was just foretelling the future there.”

Over the weekend, Guffey’s vague warning became real: Last Friday, Knightdale Fire responded to a call at Guffey’s house at 100 Maplewood Drive.

Guffey’s 19-year-old son heard the smoke detectors when he came home that afternoon and called for help. Everyone, including the family dog, were able to make it out of the house.

Guffey said there was about $40,000 in smoke and heat damage, mostly isolated on the second floor of the home. The family was able to stay in the home, because the first floor was mostly unaffected.

Early investigation by the Wake County Fire Marshal and the city of Raleigh’s fire investigators show the fire might have started near a candle, although they are still working to determine an official cause, Guffey said.

Guffey’s daughter, who is a 23-year-old college student, told her dad she blew a candle out before she left the house.

“I’ve been after (my daughter) for quite some time now,” Guffey said. “She likes candles and I don’t like open flames.”

Most of the heat and smoke damage was in Guffey’s daughter’s room.

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

As fire chief, Guffey said he is used to helping families who have fires in their homes too, but now he has a deeper understanding of what they’re going through.

The situation also confirmed a piece of Guffey’s fire safety advice: be leery of candles.

“My advice would be not to use them,” he said.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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