Fires damage two homes Thursday
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Firefighters open up a hole in the roof a house to let heat and gas escape from the building that caught fire on State Highway 154 south of the city Thursday.
Staff photo by Angela Pitts

Nov. 4, 2005 -- Hopkins County fire officials are still investigating an early morning fire which seriously damaged a Saltillo residence Thursday, and have ruled an afternoon fire on State Highway 154 south of the city the result of electrical difficulties.

No one was injured in either fire.

The fire which occurred on U.S. Highway 67 in the wee hours Thursday gutted the northeast side of the residence and caused "heavy fire damage throughout the rest of the house," according to Steve Caudle, investigator for Hopkins County Fire Department.

The structure at 8671 U.S. Highway 67 in Saltillo was undergoing repairs, and the owners were in the process of securing paperwork for the lease of the structure when the fire occurred. The cause of that fire is still under investigation.

Officials were alerted of the second fire shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, when a fire academy recruit passing the area reported heavy smoke coming out the side of the State Highway 154 south residence.

When Hopkins County firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was pouring from the residence. Upon entering the residence through the front door armed with hoses and a thermal imager, they noted dense smoke and high heat. The firefighters continued through to the hallway where "fire was rolling on the hallway ceiling." The crew began extinguishing the blaze in the hallway and continued spraying it as they progressed to the seat of the fire in a back bedroom.

A secondary Hopkins County crew conducted a search of the house for any unknown victims and to ventilate the roof so heat and gases could safely escape. Sulphur Springs and Brinker firefighters also assisted at the scene.

The firefighters' quick response was credited with limiting the burn damage to that room, with the remainder of the house sustaining heavy smoke damage. 

"They did a hell of a job," said Caudle, praising the firemen's quick stop. "Almost unbelievably, the main structural part of the house was undamaged."

After an investigation, Caudle concluded that a "malfunction of an electrical component plugged into an electrical duplex wall plug" caused the fire at 3432 State Highway 154 south.

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