Commonwealth Journal

News Live

March 31, 2014

Fire damages Morris & Hislope Funeral Home

Science Hill —

Towards the front of the building, Morris & Hislope Funeral felt calm, normal. As it might on any weekday afternoon, with customers asking questions in the business office and sun pouring into the lobby through the open door.
Step further back into the facility, however, and the smell of smoke hits the nose. Touch a chair and find soot on the finger. Definitely not a normal day at Morris & Hislope.
The longstanding Science Hill funeral home suffered a fire Sunday evening, one that will change the way it operates for likely another month.
Co-owner Quintin McGinnis said that the initial look by the Science Hill Fire Department and state fire marshal determined that it was most likely an electrical fire.
“(They) suspect that it came from the breaker box (in the garage),” said McGinnis.
Science Hill Volunteer Fire Department Chief Josh Whitis noted that the cause is still under investigation, however.
The majority of the fire was contained to the garage, although there was damage to the building’s roof as well as smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the funeral home.
No one was in the building at the time and no one was hurt. Moreover, quick thinking by the funeral home’s ownership prevented even more costly damage.
“James Russell Dick, my business partner, was the one who spotted the fire,” said McGinnis. “He called me immediately, and got ahold of 911, and came in the building while the smoke was still inside.”
That’s because the hearse was parked right outside, and likely would have been torched had it remained there long.
“(Dick) got the cars moved before they got damaged,” said McGinnis.
The fire started likely around 6:30 p.m., noted McGinnis. It had been burning for a while before it was noticed; Whitis said fire units were paged out at 7:43 p.m.

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