Homeowner questions if railroad company to blame in house fire

James Platt looks at the ruins of his home/Tonya Brown

James Platt lost all he had in a fire at his home on Israel Court in Mullins last Thursday morning, and he is now saying the company CSX is to blame for his loss.

Platt says he and his neighbors could not get to their houses because CSX crews took out a railroad crossing that leads to his home. Crews were repairing the tracks.

"I thought it was crazy because it would have only taken them less than an hour to put the rock back, so we could have access in and out of our homes," said Platt's neighbor Alan Page.

Platt says CSX crews promised him they would put some rocks on the tracks to make it possible for him to cross, but he says they never did.

"The trucks (CSX) pulled off, and I discovered they hadn't put any rock down, so I can get in and get out. They know that I was heart patient . That's why they was putting the crossing back in, so I could get in and out," Platt explained.

Mullins Fire Chief Robert Stetson says fire trucks couldn't get through to respond to fire at Platt's home.

He says they didn't know the crossing was down.

"We just had some obstacles. The road itself was impassable because we had a train intersection that was out under some repair to get to this residence. We just had to come up with a plan B. We had to get the apparatus to the initial fire scene. So what we did is we improvised and used a larger diameter hose to reduce down with some attack line and took care of the situation," said Chief Stetson.

The crossing was fixed the afternoon following the fire at Platt's home, according to CSX.

Platt says by then it was too late and now wonders if his home could have been saved if he'd been there.

"If I would have been here. I know it would have been something done. We had fire extinguishers and stuff in the house," said Platt.

NewsChannel 15 called CSX to get their response on this incident and the company emailed us this statement.

"CSX is aware of the house fire and met with the homeowner yesterday. The company has also made contact with the fire department and is awaiting the results of their investigation."

Platt says the company has indicated they will do the right thing.

CSX wouldn't comment on that, but says it's investigating.

In the meantime, Platt continues to stay with family and friends.

Platt is hoping to get some short-term help from the Pee Dee Chapter of the Red Cross.