Thursday, December 14, 2006
Fire destroys house at Wallhill
By SUE WATSON
A house fire, caused by a kerosene heater, burned down the farmhouse of a Wallhill Road family, leaving 19 homeless, according to Ron Rhea, fire chief of the Watson Fire Department.
The December 6 fire destroyed the entire house of Sadie Jones. Several of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren lived in the house.
A family member told Rhea the fire started after the heater had been refilled. Family members made an effort to remove the heater from the room and fuel spilled setting the entire room afire.
“They tried a bucket of water, but by that time the fire had spread eight to 10 feet,” Rhea said. “They started running out the door and by the time they all got out the door, flames were coming out of the room.”
By the time fire trucks arrived the whole house was fully involved and the roof was caving in, he said.
A second fire in the woods was started at the same location after a propane cylinder used for cooking overheated, took to the air and caught the edge of the woods on fire, he said.
At the same time firefighters were working the Wallhill fire, another call came in. A Byhalia family had removed hot coals from a wood heater and dumped them in the back yard, catching the grass on fire, Rhea said.
A November 16 fire at David Cove in Gordon Lake Subdivision at Matthews Corner also burned a house to the ground.
Ray said the Tacker family had gone to the hospital to visit a relative, neighbors reported seeing smoke from a window and called the fire department.
“They lost everything, too,” Ray said.
December is the worst month for fire fires in the year, he said.
Some reminders for families to help avoid a costly fire, he said, is not to leave a heater, stove or fireplace burning when going out for a while; if a fire has started in one room, close the door to that room after everyone is out of it; close the door to the house if it is burning after everyone is out safely; be safe with candles, portable electric heaters and kerosene; and have a working smoke alarm and a powder fire extinguisher in the home.
Ray said closing the door to a room or house involved in fire starves the fire of oxygen. Firefighters have a better chance of saving a structure or limiting the spread of the fire, if they arrive before the fire has spread. Those minutes when the fire is starved can make a big difference, he said.
A bank account for the Sadie Jones family has been set up at Merchants and Farmers Bank of Holly Springs and Byhalia where donations can be made (to the Sadie Jones Fire Relief Fund). Donations can be mailed to Merchants and Farmers Bank, P.O.Box 700, Holly Springs, MS 38635.
A fund for the Tacker family has been set up at Citizens Bank in the name of Sarah Jones, a daughter of the Tackers. Household goods or clothing can be donated to the Tacker family by contacting Beth Bruner, 901-212-3404, or Pam Bruner, 901-212-4486 or 662-895-0751. The Bruners will arrange to pick up donations of clothing or household goods.
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