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A Thursday afternoon fire totally destroyed a Vance couple’s home.

The fire at the Suwanee Drive residence occurred around 4:10 p.m., according to Vance Fire Chief Scott Witherell.

"When we arrived on the scene, the home was about 60 percent to 70 percent involved," Witherell said. "It was a total loss of the house."

Albert Canaday and his wife, Lynn, were able to escape the house without any significant injuries.

"When they heard something on the front porch like a big explosion, they went to see the front porch and it was in flames," Albert's sister, Deborah Wiles, said.

"They ran out the back door and by the time they got back to the front door, the house was in flames,” she said.

Wiles said there was an attempt to put out the porch fire, “but it was too late.”

In addition to the house, a camper and a vehicle close to the residence also caught on fire.

Witherell said the couple’s dog was spotted outside during the fire. Their cat could not be found, but it did not appear to have been in the home or other items that burned.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, Witherell said.

In addition to Vance, the Holly Hill, Eutawville, Santee and Providence fire departments responded to the fire.

Crews cleared the scene by 8 p.m.

Witherell said the homeowners are staying with family in the area until they can find a more permanent place to live. The American Red Cross is also providing assistance to the family.

"They lost everything," Wiles said. "They have nothing. They did not even have any insurance."

Individuals wanting to assist with Red Cross efforts to help fire victims can donate by visiting or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. Individuals can also learn about volunteer opportunities at the same website.


Business Reporter

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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