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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
July 11, 1997     Cape Gazette
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July 11, 1997
 

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Fire Continued from page 1 bum completely. I decided that from a safety standpoint it was better to let it go rather than be- come a hazard in the neighbor- hood. There's no official.word but several people said they heard big booms before the fire." Later Thursday morning, Vird- en said she hadn't mustered the courage to go back to the property alongside the railroad tracks that cross Kings Highway to look at some of the large trees that may have been damaged. "There's a gingko tree there that's my pride and joy. Was it ever beautiful when it turned yellow in the fall. Lots of memories at that land. But I understand the firemen kept the tree watered down to minimize damage." Massey reported fire Lewes Building Inspector Bill Massey called the fire in to 911 when, coming back from Re- hoboth just after midnight, he watched a sky alive with lightning bolts joining earth and sky at Lewes. "I pulled up to the stop sign by the gas station where Kings Highway meets Freeman Highway. 1 was headed into town, and I thought to myself the fog must be rolling in because of an approaching cold front. But then I rolled my window down and smelled smoke. It .was smoke, not fog, hazing the air. Then as I drove nearer the house I saw smoke billowing from it." Massey placed his emergency call on a car phone and then went to the door of the neighbor's house which was beginning to be showered with burning embers. The Bradleys, he said, woke out of a sleep and finally came to the door. "I was running back and forth between their doors and their white car in the driveway," said Massey. "Whole pieces of burn- ing wood were landing on it and then I heard an explosion that re- ally scared me. The fire marshal said there was probably some gas cans in the part of the house where the fire started that exploded. I got Mr. Bradley to give me his keys so I could move his car and then I got away from there. The fire really started rolling then." Ed Zygm0nski, who lives across and just down the street from the burning house, said the crack of lightning sat him straight up in bed. "It was a terrific crack and I started looking around to see what had been hit. It wasn't long before I saw the house smoking." Members of Lewes Fire Depart- ment arrived on the scene of a ful- ly involved fire. By the time they brought it under control, Virden had arrived from her home on Lewes Beach and made the deci- sion to let the building go com- pletely. Purchased from Russells Virden said her husband Gilbert's father, Walt, bought the one acre property and house in 1910 from some Russells. "They bought it from the McFees back in 18 something," said Virden, "so I know the house was more than 100 years old. i've owned the pi'operty for the past 31 years. That's how long ago my husband died." Though vacant now for more than a quarter century, the Virden house was once the site of a hot- house and florist business operat- ed by Ruth Virden's father-in-law and his wife. "There's a garden there where lots and lots of pe- onies grow each year," she said. "Peonies were what people put on J graves on Memorial Day and the Virdens supplied them for the Lewes area. It was also one of the first houses in Lewes to have elec- tric and before that it had gas lights supplied by the former coal gas factory across the street. "I had always wanted to fix the place back up again but I never had the money. It's not insured either, but at least we have the property." Still the question re- mains. Where's Old Russ, the ghost of the Virden place, going to brew his coffre and smoke his cigars now? CAPE GAZETFE, Friday, July 11. July 17, 1997 - 13 Strong Communities picnic set for Aug. 9 The Strong Communities Initiative has decided to have its annual summer picnic on Aug. 9 at the former Selbyville Middle School. The annual event brings all eight communities together for fun and to share ideas and successes. Rusty Rudder approved for 1997 SCI summit Strong Communities has approved the Rusty Rudder Restaurant as the site for its 1997 summit to be held Nov. 14 and 15. The summit is an intensive conference where select members of each of the eight Sus- sex County Strong Communities participate in reviewing their progress and planning for the future. Additionally, community resources are dis- cussed and shared among members of the communities. The Strong Communities Steering Committee voted against approving representa- tives from the Virginia Water Project to facilitate the summit. Make the Decision Now! i . [ i Increasing numbers of residents enjoy the Plantations so much, they say it's The Perfect Place to live. Why? Because of the quality of life, the extensive variety of homes, the sweeping beauty, the ease of maintenance and the  availability. Isn't it time you decided to make Plantations your home, too? The variety of homes is as impressive as the quality is depend- able. We have newly designed Villas with garages, spacious Courtyard units, Carriage Homes with garages where you own the !nd and custom-built Single-family homes. Each property is constructed exclusively by Country Life Homes, the n Diamond Builder award winner in Delaware. Visit Plantations and tour our models. Prices start at $113,500 For more information, call us at -, 302.645.2727 or 800.777.1530 O oen 7 days a week From Route One, turn west at Midway Shopping Center traffic light ..... onto Posta! Lane, then right at 275 ....