County firemen battle two home fires in the last four days

By FAITH HUFFMAN,| News-Telegram News Editor

April 7, 2008 - County firemen battled at least two home fires over the last four days. No injuries were reported, but the homes sustained significant damages.

To assist the families, Hopkins County Salvation Army is accepting clothing and monetary donations.

The first fire was reported just before 3 p.m. Friday a little more than a mile north of FM 1567 and State Highway 154 south. Hopkins County, Como and Brinker firefighters were dispatched, along with sheriff's officers.

When Hopkins County firefighters arrived, they reported heavy fire and smoke in one end of the single-wide mobile home. About the time firefighters arrived at the door the fire "flashed over" inside the house. They then were able to go in the front door, hoses in hand and make an interior attack. The fire was put out in quick order, with the departments remaining on the scene until 4:55 p.m. making sure no hot spots remained to rekindle, firefighters reported.

"They did a heck of a job at the single-wide mobile home. They did an excellent job knocking it down, with only about 30 percent fire damage," Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix said Monday. "The fire appears to be mainly in the utility room and to be electrical in nature. There's nothing we've found about this fire that would indicate it's anything other than accidental, nothing suspicious about it."

While the majority of fire damage was contained to the utility room, varied degrees of smoke damage were sustained throughout the mobile home.

Hopkins County Salvation Army is accepting monetary or clothing donations to assist residents Charlie and Kasie Minick and their 2-year-old son Dylan: men's size 32x34 pants, medium shirts and and 9 1/2 shoes; ladies sizes 7 junior pants, medium shirts and 9 1/2 shoes; toddler sizes 2T pants and shirts, size 9 shoes and 4-5 diapers. Donations may be made at Salvation Army headquarters, located inside The Bait & Tackle Shop, 1702 South Broadway St., or by calling HCSAC chair Jo Marie Neal at 903-885-9858 or 903-335-1032.

The second fire was reported at 10:37 p.m. Saturday on FM 269 south in Pickton and said to be fully engulfed in flames. Como and Pickton-Pine Forest firefighters were dispatched, and Hopkins County sheriff's deputies were made aware of the fire.

The wood frame house was fully engulfed in flames when deputies and Como firefighters arrived. Brinker Volunteer Fire Department's tanker was dispatched to the location for additional water support. A man who was staying in a travel trailer located very close to the flaming structure was evacuated by sheriff's deputies prior to firefighter's arrival. The family was said not to be at home.

Winnsboro firefighters were contacted for additional water support and manpower in Pickton-Pine Forest VFD's absence. Winnsboro sent their engine which carries 1,000 gallons of water, and five personnel to assist Como and Brinker at the scene.

"Como remained on scene until the bulk of the fire was knocked down. Brinker's tanker and Winnsboro's engine took turns transporting water to the scene and dumping it in a tank. "If it wasn't for them, we'd have really been in a bind for help," Brinker VFD fireman Andy Endsley said of Winnsboro firemen. "We were really limited. It was just Brinker and Como as far as response until they arrived. We had a few and Como had two. It worked perfect, we had good rotation going."

Firefighters began a defensive, or exterior, attack due to the advance stage of burning the home was already in. Brinker and Winnsboro firemen stayed at the scene until 2:14 a.m. Sunday, "mopping up" and making sure the fire was extinguished to the point it was safe to leave.

Hopkins County and Champion Emergency Medical Services each had an ambulance standby at the Pickton fire, and Hopkins County Salvation Army arrived to assist the family, who returned home at some point during the fire-fight.. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the FM 269 blaze is still under investigation, according to Nix.

The Salvation Army is accepting monetary and clothing donations in the following sizes for residents Ismael and Yaneth Muoz and their 2-year-old daughter Fernanda Muoz: men's size 32x30 pants, medium shirts and size 7 shoes; ladies size medium tops, 7 pants and 6 1/2 shoes; and toddler size 3T pants and tops and size 6 1/2 shoes. Donations may be made at Salvation Army headquarters or by contacting Neal.

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