Hansford Mann Jr. stands next to his guest house after it burned Friday. Shortly before this picture was taken, firefighters on the porch behind Mann were nearly trapped by falling debris.
By FRANK PHILLIPS
Hansford Mann Jr., his wife and a few other people bunched together, watching as firefighters from as far away as Clay City and Poland sprayed water and successfully kept the pine woods around the house from catching fire.
The two-story log house was located about one-half mile west of SR 59 on SR 46.
"I put that house together piece by piece," Mann said. "I cut the trees, floated them down the creek, stripped off the bark and built the house. I took up the floor at the old YWCA in Terre Haute and brought it over. It was a four-year project."
But Mann's loss was mixed with gratitude.
"At least the woods didn't catch fire," he said.
As Mann talked about the house, firefighters on the porch were hit by falling timbers and nearly trapped. But, all escaped unharmed.
The Manns arrived home from Terre Haute at noon Friday. At 12:30, they looked across the fields and woods to see smoke billowing from the guest house.
The house was not occupied when it caught fire and the cause of the fire was not immediately known. Various family members and other guests used the house when they came to visit,to enjoy the woods and the 17-acre lake on the family's estate.
Mann could place no estimate on the value of the time and care he put into building the house.
"I'll have to find out what the insurance will pay," he said. "Then I'll have to bring in a bulldozer and a truck and carry it off."
He did not say if he planned to rebuild.