Whaley house fire under investigation

Published 10:47 pm Friday, July 11, 2014



A little piece of history went up in flames Thursday night.

The house, located at 715 North Three Notch Street, was home to Sarah Ann Whaley, a well-known musician and long-time piano teacher.

“A lot of people know that house well,” said Troy Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw. “It was where the Whaley ladies lived who taught piano.”

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Outlaw said Whaley and her mother, Margaret Gellerstedt Whaley, had given piano lessons to several generations of musicians in that home.

The vacant home had no electricity, which ruled out some causes and left questions in their place. A deputy from the State Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to help with the investigation.

“We haven’t determined the cause of the fire yet,” said Outlaw. “The fire started on the rear of the house. We haven’t been able to determine for sure whether it started inside or outside.”

Firefighters were on a call in an area off Knox Street when they were called to the structure fire a few blocks away. The call came in at 11:11 p.m., and they reached the home in time to see the roof cave in.

“The only thing we could do was go into defensive mode when we got there and protect the surrounding buildings,” Outlaw said.

The home was located next to a retail store and two doors from a gas station.

Firefighters reported no injuries from battling the blaze.