Local woman sustains minor injuries escaping morning house fire on Arbala Road

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News

July 9, 2007 - An FM 2297 resident fled her burning home early this morning, sustaining only minor injuries during her flight.

The roof, attic and a back room of the residence were destroyed by fire. The rest of the house was smoke damaged, according to fire reports.

Hopkins County Salvation Army will be providing clothing for Clinton Joe and Linda Beachum. The couple told HCSA Chairwoman Jo Marie Neal that after they assess the extent of damages later today, they  will let her know what, if any other, needs they will have.

Neal said that HCSA will assist the couple with hotel costs if they indicate they are in need of a place to stay later.

Arbala, Cumby and Brinker firefighters were dispatched at 1:36 a.m. to the the residence, which was at least partially engulfed in flames, according to reports.

When firefighters arrived, they reported the fire had “vented” and was already blazing out of the roof of the single story brick home. After determining that all residents were safe, firefighters attempted an interior attack on the fire, which had spread throughout most of the attic and roof and was in the back room.

Due to the hazardous conditions, however, the fire teams soon backed out of the house and went “defensive” to prevent anyone from being injured by debris and flames from the ceiling. They then tackled the fire from outside, primarily the ceiling-roof area and back room. They remained at the scene until about 5:15 this morning, making sure the fire was out and checking for hot spots to prevent rekindling, according to Arbala firefighters.

Linda Beachum, the only one home at the time of the fire, told Arbala firemen that she was awakened to the smell of smoke in her home. When she went into the hallway she could see the flames. When it became apparent she wouldn’t be able to extinguish the fire herself, she was force to go back into her room, where the only way out was through a window. She sustained some minor injuries while escaping through the window, but no burns, according to Arbala firefighter Brian Fairchild.

Linda escaped in only her gown and robe. The other resident, Clinton Joe Beachum, was away at work when the fire was reported Neal said.

Hopkins County Fire Investigator Steve Caudle and Chief Carl Nix were notified of the fire and were slated to conduct a routine investigation into the cause of the blaze later today.

HCSA is accepting monetary donations and clothing donations in the following sizes to assist the Beachums: women’s size 16 pants, 18 blouses, 7 1/2 shoes and 7 underwear; men’s 38x32 pants, XX large shirts, 10 to 10 1/2 shoes and 38 underwear.

Donations may be made at the HCSA headquarters, located inside The Bait Shop at 1702 South Broadway St., or by contacting Neal at 903-885-9858.

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