A busy first week of 2022 for emergency services in the Roaring River and Ronda areas culminated with two structure fires and a wreck.

Firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire off Wagon Ridge Road in the Ronda Fire District about 7 p.m. Thursday and found a two-story barn ablaze, said Greg Blackburn, deputy chief of the Ronda Fire Department. The building was used for storage and as a workshop,

Blackburn said the building belongs to Bobby Trott, who lives nearby, and was considered a total loss. The contents, also lost, included a mower, scooter, power tools, bales of hay and other items. According to Blackburn, Trott said he had insurance coverage.

Wilkes Fire Marshal Jeff Anderson, who responded to the blaze, said the cause of the fire wasn’t determined due to the extent of damage. Anderson said electrical failure couldn’t be ruled out as a cause.

The Shepherds Crossroads, Roaring River and Pleasant Hill fire departments and Wilkes Rescue Squad also responded.

The fire was on the north end of Wagon Ridge Road, near where it intersects with Tharpe Road. It was near the eastern boundary of the Shepherds Crossroads fire district.

About 2:30 a.m. Friday, firefighters were dispatched to a house fire on Wallace Shepherd Road in the western end of the Shepherds Crossroads Fire District.

Shepherds Crossroads Fire Chief Roger Brooks said the three-bedroom, wood frame home and its contents were lost in the fire.

Brooks said Ethan and Amber Shepherd, owners and occupants of the house, escaped with their two dogs without injury after they were awakened by a smoke alarm.

He said the cause of the fire wasn’t determined, but the couple saw flames coming from a room with a computer used as an office so it possibly started from an electrical problem there.

Brooks said that when told about Red Cross assistance available for fire victims, Shepherd said that should be saved for someone in greater need and stated that they would stay with his parents nearby on the same road.

Brooks said flames were coming through the roof of the house when firefighters arrived and added that 70 mph winds fueled the fire. Roaring River and Mountain View firefighters and the Wilkes Rescue Squad also responded.

Firefighters were on the scene until about 7 a.m. Friday. Wallace Shepherd Road is a dead-end road off John Grit Road.

Also Thursday evening, the Shepherds Crossroads Fire Department responded to a report of a grass fire and the Roaring River Fire Department responded to a wreck with no serious injuries on Red, White and Blue Road.

Brooks said that on Jan. 4, Shepherds Crossroads firefighters were dispatched to a fire in a house on Stoney Ridge School Road that mostly only caused smoke damage before it was extinguished. He said a woman who lived there said the fire somehow started from a leaf blower after she installed its batteries and set it down. The blower wasn’t activated.

Roaring River Fire Chief Dale Pierce said Roaring River firefighters responded to 17 calls in the first seven days of 2022, including two different wrecks with one fatality apiece, fires and medical calls. Pierce said that’s the most he can remember in a single week.

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