AUGUSTA CHRONICLES: "Flames destroy house in Merriwether" - 'He said he believed a power surge might have caused the fire...Among the losses were... a cash reserve Mr. Scupin had saved in case of Y2K problems' : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Flames destroy house in Merriwether

Jan. 08, 2000

By Brandon Haddock
Staff Writer

A fire Friday morning cost a Merriwether community couple their home and most of their belongings.

Karl and Shelia Scupin's two-story home was destroyed, and the couple has no insurance, Mr. Scupin said.

``I have totally lost everything,'' he said. ``Basically, what I own now is what's on my back. At this point, we don't know what we're going to do.''

The fire occurred at 10:30 a.m., said Merriwether Fire Chief Rudy Brooks. A nearby resident noticed smoke coming from a group of trees and reported it to the fire department.

When a firefighter investigated, he found the 3,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home engulfed in flames, Chief Brooks said.

``It was burning good before anybody saw anything,'' he said.

About 20 firefighters from four departments arrived to fight the fire, Chief Brooks said. He estimated it took 75,000 to 80,000 gallons of water to douse the flames.

Fire officials believe the blaze started in the living room, near a fireplace, Chief Brooks said. Mr. Scupin said he used the fireplace Thursday night, but the fire was extinguished when he left home Friday morning.

He said he believed a power surge might have caused the fire. The home experienced electrical fluctuations in the past, Mr. Scupin said.

Among the losses were a beagle puppy the couple regarded as ``our kid'' and a cash reserve Mr. Scupin had saved in case of Y2K problems, he said.

The couple's home-insurance policy lapsed Dec. 15, but Mr. Scupin said he never received notice that the policy had expired.

The couple owed about $70,000 on the home and land, said Mr. Scupin, who added he would have been able to pay off the debt in a few years.

``There's no way I can afford to pay for it now, so I don't know what I'm going to do,'' he said.

Anyone wishing to help the couple may contact Mr. Scupin's mother, Becky, at (803) 279-2161, Mr. Scupin said.

Reach Brandon Haddock at (706) 823-3409 or


-- John Whitley (, January 09, 2000


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-- John Whitley (, January 09, 2000.

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-- John Whitley (, January 09, 2000.

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