An early morning blaze at an abandoned Cumby house Saturday burned so hot it melted the vinyl siding on the residence next door.
The official cause of the fire is still under investigation but is “definitely suspicious” as the house was not occupied and had no active utility services, Hopkins County Fire Marshal Steve Caudle said late Saturday morning.
Cumby, Hopkins County, Miller Grove and Campbell firefighters were dispatched to the 200 block of Mill Street at about 2:45 a.m. Saturday after a neighbor reported the house to be “engulfed in” fire.
As Cumby firefighters arrived at their station, they could already see the glow from the fire. When the first truck arrived, firemen noted the fire had “self-ventilated through the roof” and was blazing across the southwest side of the older wood frame house.
“The initial attack was to the interior, but they had to pull out because it was an older home with ship-lap ceilings and walls. They tried the interior again and had to stop and pull out when one of the fire hydrants blew off, so they had to go defensive [an exterior fire-fight],” Caudle said.
The city of Cumby has been replacing aging fire hydrants “a little at a time” but had yet to get to improve that one, firefighters said.
The radiant heat from the fire was so intense it melted the vinyl siding on one side of the nearest neighbor’s home. Fortunately, other departments soon arrived to assist, and firemen were able to get the fire under control relatively quickly, thereby preventing it from spreading to other structures. Fire damage was contained to the southwest side of the house; the rest was heavily fire and smoke damaged, however.
Brinker and Arbala firefighters were called for water support and additional manpower, but were told to disregard prior to arrival. North Hopkins firefighters stood by at Hopkins County Fire Station, and an ambulance stood by at the scene. The American Red Cross provided firemen with rehabilitation services. Deputies also assisted. Fire crews remained at the scene until just before 7 a.m. Saturday.
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