A fire broke out Friday morning causing severe damage to a local man’s two-story residence. An alarm was received around 12:38, July 1, from the home of Steve Tallent at 215 John Tallent Road. Steve Tallent lives alone and, fortunately, was not home at the time of the fire.
Clarks Chapel, Mountain Valley, Cullasaja, Cowee, and West Macon Fire departments responded to the alarm. After the fire was extinguished, the firefighters were treated by Macon County EMS to prevent heat exhaustion. The outside temperature at the time was 89 degrees.
According to Pete Haithcock of the Franklin Fire Department, the blaze took 30-40 minutes to contain. The fire lasted a total of about two hours. Haithcock stated further that there is an estimated $200,000 loss to the property and $50,000 loss to the contents of the residence.
“I came outside and saw the smoke,” says eyewitness Betsy Gregory. “That was Steve’s house and I thought to myself, ‘Poor Steve. I hope it doesn't burn to the ground.’”
If there is a bright side to such a misfortune, then it would be that Tallent was able to save three antique cars in his basement that are valued at more than $100,000. “We were able to save the cars so it was worth the effort,” said Haithcock.
Haithcock said that the fire appeared to be accidental and nothing malicious is suspected at this time. Haithcock said he guessed that the fire started with an electrical cord or other electrical device, but he is not sure of the exact cause. The blaze is still under investigation by the Macon County Arson Task Force.