Gilmer historic home destroyed, side apartment damaged
BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS
A fire of unknown origin early Wednesday destroyed most of a landmark Gilmer home occupied by a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, Upshur County Fire Marshal Paul Steelman said.
The blaze at 219 E. Butler St., reported to the nearby Gilmer Fire Department about 12:30 a.m., destroyed the part of the frame home occupied by Stephanie Rash, and heavily damaged an adjoining apar-tment occupied by an unidentified woman, Steelman said. Tina Meisenheimer ow-ned the structure, he said.
Ms. Rash, a Cowboys cheerleader for one season more than a decade ago, was not home when the fire occurred, but the woman living in the apartment may have been, Steelman said.
The central Gilmer residence at the intersection of Butler and Trinity streets was once the home of Henry Lee Davis, a well-known grocer in the city for more than 60 years before his death several years ago. The house later was converted into a bed-and-breakfast for a time.
Joe Blount, an 87-year-old retired football coach who grew up in Gilmer, said, "As far as my remembrance, that house has been there all my life."
Nobody was injured in the blaze, which firefighters battled for about three hours, Steelman said. However, none of the home's contents were saved "that I'm aware of," he added.
Steelman said there is no suspicion of foul play "right now" in connection with the fire, but heavy rain has hampered the investigation into its cause. He said he hoped to be at the site today.