An Effingham County man who built his home nearly 30 years ago now has to start all over and has vowed to do just that.
A telephone call early Saturday morning gave Bobby Jenkins the news that his Sand Hill Road home had burned down. He said the fire had started between 3 and 4 a.m. Saturday.
“That’s what they told me,” he said, “ ’cause I was out of town.”
Jenkins said four girls, taking a friend home, saw the fire and called 911.
According to Effingham County Sheriff’s Office reports, a deputy who responded to the 911 call arrived at the residence to find that the fire had taken over the porch area and was spreading to the front roof area. He then went to the rear and side doors, kicking in the doors and yelled to see if anyone was inside, without success.
After doing this around the house, the deputy was overcome with smoke and had to be given oxygen by EMS personnel. By the time he was off the oxygen, he said the house was a total loss, and fire units were slowly getting the fire under control.
“The fire was at the front porch first,” Jenkins said. “It was coming down through the bushes there. They said it was a minimum fire when they got here and seen it, but you can see, it’s not a minimum fire.”
As Jenkins stood inside his burned out house, not much remained except the brick fireplace and traces of a few burned out walls.
“I built this house,” he said. “I started in 1980 and moved in in 1981.”
Jenkins said he moved into the house, which is 1,972 square feet, in the early part of 1981. He returned to his house about 10 Saturday morning.
“By the time I got back here, and this is what I found,” he said. “I was expecting, you know, when they said the house burnt, you pull up and you see the roof caved in — not like this. They didn’t get in, even to save not a picture off the wall. I had three doors. It seems like somebody could’ve gotten something out of there.”
Jenkins said that the fire destroyed things that belonged to nine other people, family and friends, but that he has family nearby he can stay with until he’s able to put things back together again.
“No one was at home. It was all contained right here, it didn’t get out to the neighbors, nothing else was damaged,” he said. “I’ve got insurance — I’m waiting on them to come out and investigate. As soon as they tell me they can release this thing, I can come out here and clean it up. I’ll just have an excavator come in and take it all out. I don’t want to keep looking at it. I will rebuild.”