Thursday, February 19, 2009
Fire razes house
By SUE WATSON
Five fire departments responded to a fire at 278 South Red Banks Road Thursday at 4:34 p.m. The house was a total loss, according to Tracy Jeffries, fire investigator with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.
Jeffries said Kevin Clements had come home from work, put some food in the oven and was resting when he was awakened by the lights and television going off. He went outside to check the breaker box after the lights went out and when he reentered the house it was full of smoke, he said.
Clements called 911, and later attempted to save some pets in one of the rooms and in doing so sustained smoke damage to his lungs, Jeffries said. He was taken to Alliance HealthCare System and was airlifted to Memphis for treatment.
Clements and Linda Money operated the Mid-South Animal Rescue League kennels on the property, which sheltered dozens of dogs, according to a report the couple gave The Commercial Appeal. About 30 dogs died and a few cats as a result of the fire, they said.
The house, built in the 1940s, went up in flames pretty fast, Jeffries said. The structure was allowed to burn itself out because firefighters could not haul enough water to extinguish the fire, said Holly Springs Fire Chief Kenny Holbrook.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Jeffries said.
Another structure fire was extinguished at 270 Laws Hill Road Friday morning, Holbrook said. No one was home at the time but a passerby noticed smoke and called the fire department. The fire was limited to a bedroom but other areas of the home sustained smoke damage, he said.
Byhalia FD annual report
Leland Reed, fire chief with the Byhalia Volunteer Fire Department, presented an annual incident report for 2008 to the Byhalia Board of Aldermen in January.
Total calls for the year for the department came to 319, while 363 incidents were responded to after mutual aid was included.
Total fire dollar losses were reported at $475,800.
The department responded to 14 structure fires; nine vehicle fires; and 12 other fires for a total of 35 fires for the year.
Rescue calls for the year totaled 220 with 216 requiring emergency medical assistance.
The department responded to 17 hazardous condition calls, five service calls, 24 good intent calls, and three severe weather/natural disaster calls.
There was one malicious call and 14 false calls.
Reed said Byhalia’s all volunteer fire department thrives with 20 active, full-time members.
“The main thing is they all are volunteer and they give their time to their community,” he said. “Manpower is getting better and better and we are always looking for more.”
He said new volunteers learn quickly if they like firefighting and the ones who do not move on.
Firefighters like the family-oriented atmosphere, he said, and he thanked Byhalia Mayor Scooter Dempsey and the board of aldermen for backing up the fire department with help and all equipment needs.
Marshall County Emergency Management Coordinator Hugh Hollowell reported a decrease in fires from year 2007 to 2008 but an increase in emergency medical responses.
“The fire decrease (down by 96 from 2007) is due in part to public education and to a fairly wet fall fire season,” He said.
Emergency medical calls increased by 65 to 1570 for year 2008.
Countywide, emergency management reported 2,189 calls for 2007 and 2,217 for 2008. There were 336 fire calls (107 structure fires, 64 vehicle fires, 165 others) countywide in 2008. Rescue calls totaled 1,570 with 1,516 of those calls for medical assistance.
One civilian fire-related death was reported.
There are 11 fire departments in Marshall County, three in municipalities (Byhalia, Holly Springs, Potts Camp) and eight rural ones. Byhalia and Potts Camp have two fire stations each so that there is a station on each side of the railroad track.
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