National Register landmark damaged by fire
A fire broke out before noon on Sunday in the rear of a house known as “The Barracks” at 1100 Albemarle Ave., in the Tarboro Historic District, where North Howard and South Howard Circle meet Battle Avenue.
The imposing salmon brick home was built by William Smith Battle in 1858 on Glenburnie, the Dancy plantation across the railroad tracks, in what was just outside Tarboro, at the time.
Observers stood Sunday in a front yard across from the kitchen entrance.
Farrar Martin, whose home is adjacent to Tarboro Fire Station 1, could hear the incoming fire call around 11:15 a.m.
Martin’s mother, the late Mary Marshall F. Martin, formerly occupied a one-story apartment spanning the west face of the house. On Sunday, the apartment was steamy and smoldering.
Firefighters from Tarboro, Prince-ville, Leggett, Heartease, West Edgecombe, and Lewis Volunteer fire departments were on the scene for five or more hours.
Dense smoke permeated the 8,063- square-foot residence and billowed out of eaves, vents, and windows that had been broken to allow smoke and heavy plumes of steam to escape the structure.
With much effort ongoing, there were many audible warnings sounding as firefighters’ oxygen tanks were depleted. As firefighters emerged from the smoke-filled home to replace their air supplies, others stepped in to continue the battle.
Also on hand was the Princeville Fire Department Auxilliary, who offered Gatorade and snacks to refresh firefighters.
Several firefighters said nearly every department in Edgecombe County responded. According to Tarboro firefighter Ken Ruffin, the fire might have begun in the kitchen, and spread among the various levels of ceilings and spaces of the one-story rear section, which was heavily damaged.
The two-story section remained intact, with significant smoke damage, but observers said they thought it could be restored.
One Tarboro firefighter, Thad Winstead, was treated for an injury to his hand, and released from Vidant Edgecombe.
Potential new owners of The Barracks were due to close in two weeks. The $499,000 property’s listing has been posted on the Preservation North Carolina website, www.presnc.org and locally with Mary Ann Cumpata at Tarboro Realty.
According to a Facebook post by Sarah Peveler, this is not the only National Register property sitting vacant.
“I cannot bear the thought of going out my front door and looking down the two blocks of Battle Avenue,” Peveler wrote. “I had a firsthand report from a friend whose late husband’s family built The Barracks. Fire seems to have started in rear addition. There has been some renovation work going on.”
Mayor Rick Page later said, “The Barracks is an important gem in Tarboro’s Historic District. It should be saved.”