Deadly house fire in Martinsville caused by overloaded outlet, authorities say

The fire happened in the 400 block of Forest Street on Oct. 14, authorities said

Crews were at the scene of a fire on Forest Street Friday morning. (Star News TV)


Martinsville Fire and EMS officials have released the cause of a fire that left one person dead last week.

Crews said the fire happened last Friday on Forest Street in Martinsville around 6:30 a.m.

After conducting an investigation, authorities said they determined that the fire was accidental.

Fire investigators found an electrical outlet in the debris that showed evidence involving a receptacle overload in the victim’s bedroom near the back of the home, crews said.

Once the fire started, it spread from the outlet to nearby wood, furniture, and then the rest of the structure, according to Martinsville Fire and EMS.

Martinsville’s Fire Marshal, Andy Powers, urged others to be cautious with the colder months approaching and reminded area residents that local authorities are there to help when it comes to safety.

“Have your heating systems serviced by qualified technicians, make sure you have working, in-date smoke alarms within your home, and if you need a smoke alarm, contact us at (276) 403-5325 or Henry County Department of Public Safety at (276)634-4660. Give space heaters space and use all heating and cooking appliances per the manufacturer’s specifications,” said Powers.

UPDATE Oct. 14 5:00 p.m.:

One person died in a fire that happened this morning in Martinsville, according to the Martinsville Police Department.

Around 6:30 a.m., the Martinsville Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 400 block of Forest Street, police said.

We’re told the caller alerted dispatch that someone could have been inside of the home at the time.

Crews worked through the morning to get the fire under control, which caused delays to some bus routes in the area.

After extinguishing the fire, they said they found a body inside the home that was unidentifiable.

Police said the body has been sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

The Martinsville PD is conducting a death investigation, and the Martinsville Fire Department is investigating the cause of the fire, authorities said.


Heads up! School officials with Martinsville City Public Schools say some students may be picked up on a slight delay Friday morning (Oct.14) due to a fire in the area.

Authorities told 10 News that this delay will only apply to students living on and near Forest Street.

Chief Ted Anderson with the Martinsville Fire & EMS department reports that they received the initial call from a neighbor at about 6 a.m.

As of 8:25 a.m., crews are still working to extinguish the fire in the 400 block of Forest Street.

He informed us that while the department searched the home and did not locate anyone inside, at this time, it is still unclear whether someone is in the residence.

Anderson says the fire looks much better than before but he is unsure if it will remain that way due to the home’s construction. He explained that with older homes, a fire can rapidly spread again within minutes — regardless of the size.

Stay with 10 News as this breaking news story develops

About the Authors:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.