Barnes identified in fatal East Salem house fire
SALEM – As neighbors thought, the person who died in the Aug. 9 house house fire on Victoria Avenue in Salem was Robert A. “Bob” Barnes. The name of the 61-year-old was released by Salem Fire & Emergency Medical Services the following day.
Barnes, who rented the house and had lived there several years, was evidently the only one home when a neighbor across the street called 911 to report an explosion and fire coming from the brick house across the street from him just before 9 a.m.
Salem Fire & EMS firefighters and the Salem Fire Marshal spent most of Thursday at the house on the quiet street in East Salem.
Firefighters found Barnes while conducting a search and rescue operation. His son, Mike, 20, had left the house with his father a couple of days beforehand, neighbors said, and did not return. Three family cats were also gone.
Thirty people from Salem Fire & EMS, and Roanoke Fire & EMS responded to the call, and Roanoke County Fire & Rescue provided staff to cover additional calls while equipment and staff were fighting the fire. Salem Fire Deputy Chief John Prillaman said firefighters were able to bring the fire under control within 30 minutes.
The Salem Fire Marshal determined the fire was not the result of any type of meth lab activity, as some had speculated. He did not release how nor where the fire started.
Damage to the structure was estimated at $30,000.