October 24, 2014

‘Jinxed’ Alabama home destroyed by fire

Courtesy of Vanessa Sorrell Burnside and The Randolph Leader

(Needham’s Hill, AL) – A three times unlucky house was destroyed by fire on Saturday night, July 27 on County Road 33 near Needham’s Hill.

A passerby reported the fire around 10:15 p.m. at the vacant house at 13325 County Rd. 33, Wedowee.

Because there was no electricity or gas service connected to the structure, an investigator with the state fire marshal’s office visited the site on Tuesday. It was determined the fire started in the front of the house but the investigation continues.

Photo by Amanda Causey

Photo by Amanda Causey

The home, which had been vacant for a year, was damaged in late May when a Randolph County dump truck struck it while trying to avoid an accident on the road.

Responders from Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, Wedowee and Rock Stand volunteer fire departments, and Alabama Power Company answered 911’s call Saturday evening.

The home’s most famous incident occurred on Sept. 7, 1945, when it was struck by a four-engined B-29 Superfortress airplane in the days immediately following the end of World War II. The plane struck two chimneys and tore off the roof, leaving plane parts inside the house and imbedded in an oak tree. The plane was attempting a crash landing in a cotton field. Debris was said to cover 20 acres.

Ten servicemen were killed in the crash and three people on the ground were injured. Charlotte Marie Woodruff Smith suffered burns. Also injured was her sister Ethol Murphy. John Heath, 16, who was walking outside suffered severe burns.

The house was owned by Smith’s son-in-law, Dennis Pruitt of Ponce de Leon, Fla.

For more on the plane crash, see http://www.therandolphleader.com/news/article.

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