At approximately 4:45 last Thursday, Worth County Fire Rescue was dispatched to 3450 Hwy 112 N. in regards to a house fire. Upon arrival, a 1930’s structure comprised of mostly fat lighter pine was engulfed in flames at the rear of the house. The four occupants of the home evacuated to safety. Unfortunately, three pets perished from smoke inhalation.
A two-man walk around was conducted while attack lines were readied. Assessing that all external hazards were eliminated, the five volunteer, 11 paid crew went into action.
Capt. Tom Whittington, on duty and on scene supervisor, noticed an immediate hazard and instructed crews to avoid the chimney on the “d” side of the structure as it posed a collapse hazard. The crew feared losing control of the blaze as so much flammable wood was present.
Undaunted by a seemingly impossible task, Whittington’s skilled team deployed a 10 gallon foam blanket into the attic area to hinder the progress of the fire. Not only was the fire contained, there were no re-kindles that night or the next day. That’s important to understand because with that much fat lighter wood in the structure, it’s almost certain a re-kindle would occur.
Whittington determined the fire was possibly caused by an electrical issue. He contacted Fire Marshal Roberts who investigated the scene the next morning. Roberts was completely taken aback because the structure was 3/4 saved from the fire’s destruction.
“This house should be flat on the ground,” Roberts stated. The reason that it still stands is because of the skill and expertise of the Worth County Fire Department. They did an outstanding job not only extinguishing the blaze, but preserving property and dwelling alike.
Whittington agreed also, “This was a textbook effort. I am so proud of this team. Our Board of Commissioners should be proud of this department, also.”
Whittington also assisted the family by notifying the Red Cross of the incident to aid in getting their temporary needs met.