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Fire destroys historic plantation house in King George

A Sunday night fire claimed a historic King George County home that probably dates back to the early 19th century.

Strawberry Hill, a plantation house at the corner of Igo and Comorn roads off State Route 3, was thick with smoke and fire at 11:19 p.m. Sunday when the incident was reported, according to the King George Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services.

A person who lived in the house escaped unharmed, but several sections of fire hose were damaged during operations, and vehicles were stuck in the mud, according to the department.

The house was a complete loss. Units from King George, Caroline, Stafford and Westmoreland counties responded, along with those from the Navy base at Dahlgren.

Elizabeth Lee, director of the King George Museum, said Strawberry Hill had gotten rundown in recent years, but “it was still a beautiful house,” she said. “I’m sick about the fire.”

According to information she gathered, the home was a basic box-type house until about 1841, when it was purchased by Dr. John Thomas Minor.

In 1862, he married Sally Saunders Bruce, a widow with three children.

The two had six children together and raised the nine youngsters in the home.

Lee said that Minor’s granddaughter once stated that he raised the Bruce children as if they were his own.

It is believed that Minor “modernized” the house, adding the porch and the “gingerbread” trim that Lee enjoys so much.

The house has a brick foundation and an 8-foot-wide porch that encompasses the body of the house. Its English basement was a prominent feature, Lee said, as well as stained-glass doors in the entry that are original to the home.

Adjacent to the main house is the doctor’s office house with the original floors, molding, entrance door and medicine closet, Lee said.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425