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Lightning deemed the culprit in weekend fire

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Old Stevens House burns to the ground

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    Several people lived in the Stevens house but no one was home at the time of the blaze. Photo by Johannes Plenio via Pexels

Arson has been ruled out following a weekend blaze at a 125-year-old mansion in southwest Baldwin County.

The Stevens House, built in 1895, became engulfed in flames around 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon. Baldwin County Fire Rescue handled the investigation and eventually concluded that a lightning strike in the attic began the blaze.

“After we were finally able to get everything we needed, it became very apparent,” Chief Victor Young said. “We have ruled out arson.”

Young added that the amount of heart pine and other old wood in the home accelerated the blaze.

Several people lived in the aging house, although no one was home at the time. The property owners are listed as Keith and Phyllis Dugan, according to records. The 4,840-square-foot home most recently was assessed with a “building value of $128,300,” according to tax assessor’s records.

According to an article on rootsweb.com, “Henry Stevens was the founder of Steven’s Pottery in Southwest Baldwin County. He farmed and went into the sawmill business in Greene County selling and erecting the Page Mill throughout Middle Ga. In 1854 he purchased a large tract of land in southwest Baldwin County where he sat up a saw mill plant.The brick and ceramic “pottery division” was started in 1858. Stevens Pottery was called Whiting at one time…When Sherman troops came through in 1865, the mills were burned and the pottery works leveled. After the war he rebuilt his business and it flourished. In 1871 he began making sewer pipe, pottery, stoneware and brick and his business was known as Kaolin Pottery and Mills…(Stevens), along with his 2 wives, and other relatives are buried in Matilda Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery in Stevens Pottery. The chapel was named after Matilda Stevens.”