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March 04, 2024

Home burns, displaces mother, five children

FIRE SCENE ON BETHEL CHURCH ROAD — This home on Bethel Church Road was ruined by fire on Sunday afternoon, March 12. A mother and her five children were not injured but were displaced from their home due to the fire. The home was not insured. (Photo courtesy of Vashti Fire Dept.)


A house fire on Sunday afternoon, March 12, 2023, caused a local family to lose their home. The fire services were dispatched at 3:49 p.m. to 2189 Bethel Church Road in northeast Alexander County.

Vashti Fire Department responded to the house, which was fully involved in fire by the time firefighters arrived, only four minutes after the call was dispatched, said Chief Coty Fox. Vashti was assisted by Sugar Loaf and Hiddenite departments from Alexander County, as well as Central Fire Department of Iredell County and Moravian Falls Fire Department of Wilkes County. Brushy Mountain and Central fire departments performed stand by duty at Vashti’s station, in case calls came in. Some 44 firefighters and 11 apparatus were involved in fighting the fire.

Fox noted there is no fire hydrant in the home’s vicinity and a drop tank operation had to be used, with multiple tankers transporting water to the scene.

The Chief indicated the occupants and a neighbor had attempted to put out the fire themselves.

Alexander County Deputy Fire Marshal Garrett Huffman said the mobile home had multiple roofs and additions over the original structure. The roof layers made it difficult to extinguish the fire.

The family lost several pets in the fire. A family member who is a neighbor suffered second degree burns to her face while attempting to help the family during the fire.

Huffman said the occupants were listed as Julie Hunter and her children, ages 17, 16, 13, 6, and 5 years old. The owner of the home is Vivian Costner, Hunter’s mother and neighbor. The Hunters are staying with family members since they have been displaced due to the fire.

Sadly, the home was not insured, Huffman noted. He said about one-third of the structure fires lately in Alexander have involved uninsured buildings. He estimated the loss at $100,000 to the home and $30,000 to its contents.

A GoFundMe fundraising page has been placed online at to accept donations to help the Hunter Family.


  1. Gina Mathis on March 22, 2023 at 6:42 pm

    What are the sizes of the people?

  2. Jane Maupin on April 5, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    Many of us would like to help but “go fund me” is not available or not desirable. So is there a place or agency that can receive our items?

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