Fire damages utility room, destroys almost all of family’s clothing; donations sought
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix (second from right) gets a report from resident Rodney Porter (right) while firefighter Mike Matthews looks for evidence of the cause of the fire in the utility room Thursday afternoon. 
Staff photo by Angela Pitts

Sept. 29, 2006 - Hopkins County Salvation Army was called Thursday evening to assist a woman, her two sons and three grandchildren who were without a place to stay following a fire which destroyed the utility room of their FM 71 west mobile home, burned up most of their clothing and resulted in the electricity being shut off at their residence.

According to fire reports, Hopkins County, North Hopkins, Cumby, Brinker and Sulphur Bluff firefighters were dispatched at 12:53 p.m. to a house fire on FM 71 west in Peerless. Three adults and a toddler were home at the time of the fire and fled the Peerless residence.

When Hopkins County and North Hopkins firemen arrived they advised that all other responding units not already at the scene could disregard as the fire was small and quickly extinguished.

The mobile home fire, which reportedly started in or near a dryer in the utility room, was under control by 1:09 p.m. and firefighters left at 2:49 p.m.

The fire was confined to the utility room, where one wall was burned. The rest of the house sustained some smoke damage. Most of the family's clothing was destroyed, and they have neither insurance nor finances to replace them. They also had to find another place to stay until the electricity can be restored or other living arrangements made, Hopkins County Salvation Army Chairman Jo Marie Neal said.

The Salvation Army rented two rooms for Virginia Porter, her sons Rodney and Richie Porter Sr., and Richie's three boys, 15-year-old Richie Jr., 12-year-old Christopher and 3-year-old Arron. The organization will likely help the family out again tonight, and will evaluate their living situation and needs after that on a day-to-day basis.

Hopkins County Salvation Army will be accepting clothing or monetary donations to assist the Porters at HCSA headquarters inside The Bait Shop at 1702 South Broadway St. in Sulphur Springs, or by calling Neal at 903-885-9858 or on her cell phone at  903-335-1032.

Sizes needed include women's size 10 pants and large shirts or blouses; men's size 34x30 pants, 32x32 pants, 32x30 pants, large shirts, extra large shirts and medium shirts; and young children's size 3T clothing.

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