BLOWING ROCK — Officials have determined that a house fire on Flat Top Road on May 23 was intentionally set and have identified a man found dead outside of the home.

The Watauga Communications Center dispatched first responders at 2:43 p.m. for a structure fire at 1694 Flat Top Road.

“Upon arriving on scene, units found smoke and flames coming from the structure,” according to a May 24 statement from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. “While fire suppression efforts were underway, units on scene also located a deceased male on the property outside the residence. The deceased male was identified as Dennis Charles Coffey, a 63-year-old male and the owner of the residence at 1694 Flat Top Road.”

At the scene, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Major Kelly Redmon said the man was found dead from an apparent suicide.

“Investigation into the fire has concluded, and indications show that the fire was intentionally set,” the WCSO statement said. Sheriff Len Hagaman said there is not a second person suspected of being involved with the fire. 

Blowing Rock Fire Department, Boone Fire Department, Foscoe Fire Department, Watauga County Fire Marshal’s Office, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Watauga Rescue, Watauga Medics and the Blowing Rock Police Department responded to the scene.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255, the crisis line at Daymark Recovery Services in Boone at (866) 275-9552 or message the free crisis text line at 741-741. All of these lines are open 24/7.

(1) comment

Isn’t a common practice for the press to not publish names of victims pending notification of next of kin? How insensitive that this article and its reporter chose to not exercise this very basic practice of himan decency and relatives had to learn of this tragedy via The Watauga Democrat!

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