Sunday fire leaves Brinker family homeless
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Hopkins County fire investigators were working Monday afternoon to try to determine the cause of the blaze which destroyed Larry and Jill Jenkins' home on FM 69 south in Brinker Sunday afternoon.

Hopkins County and Brinker firefighters were dispatched to the structure fire at 175 FM 69 south in Brinker at 1:29 p.m., after communications operators received a 911 call from a passing motorist who phoned after observing smoke and flames blowing out of the house.

Dike, Pickton-Pine Forest and Sulphur Springs firefighters all responded with mutual aid, providing not only water support but also 11 additional firefighters to assist the eight Brinker and Hopkins County firemen.

When firefighters arrived, they reported seeing flames blazing out the southeast corner of the house from a bedroom window and the bathroom. Firefighters said they knew the fire had also spread into the attic because of the heavy smoke and flames coming out of the eaves, Brinker Fire Chief Herb Scott said.

Firefighters began an interior attack, but three times had to back out due to the extreme heat,but finally reached the attic using an unmanned monitor from the outside. Despite the efforts of all five fire departments, only the outer walls of the brick home remained. A section of the roof collapsed and everything inside was destroyed, including all of their personal items, furniture, dishes and the walls.

The Jenkins family was not at home when the fire broke out, but were contacted and had arrived to survey their loss before firefighters cleared the scene just after 4 p.m. Sunday. Larry Jenkins, accompanied by his sons, had returned to his home at lunch on Monday and indicated that he and his wife did have insurance on the home, and hope to rebuild once the investigation is complete.

Hopkins County Fire Investigator Steve Caudle arrived at the scene shortly before lunch Monday to begin the lengthy investigative process to try to determine the cause of the blaze.

Brinker firefighters were also working Monday to help the family, by locating a temporary electric service pole, a meter and breaker box so that temporary service can be established to a travel trailer being loaned to the family by a friend so the couple can remain on their property.

Hopkins County Salvation Army assisted Sunday night, paying for a motel room for them as well as helping with a change of clothes and immediate personal needs.

The Salvation Army will continue to accept clothing, furniture and other donations for the Jenkins' who lost all of their belongings in the fire. Clothing sizes needed include men's size 9 shoes, size medium shirts and size 34x32 jeans, and women's size eight shoes, extra large blouses and size 2X pants. Donations of clothing, furniture or other household items for the Jenkins' may be made by contacting Hopkins County Salvation Army Chairman Jo Marie Neal at HCSA headquarters inside The Bait Shop at 1702 South Broadway St. in Sulphur Springs, 903-885-9858, or by calling Neal's cell phone, 903-335-1032.

Anyone wishing to donate a temporary electric service pole, meter or breaker box for the family can do so by contacting Brinker Volunteer Fire Chief Herb Scott at 903-439-9064.

A fund was also being established at lunch time to assist Jill and Larry Jenkins. Monetary donations may be made to the Jenkins Fund at City National Bank.

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