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franklin county times

Hodges VFD fights Thursday house fire

Photo by Alison James Hodges and Vina Volunteer Fire Departments responded to a house fire on Highway 172 Thursday. Chief Lesley Cantrell said the fire was started by a wood heater that was left unattended.
Photo by Alison James
Hodges and Vina Volunteer Fire Departments responded to a house fire on Highway 172 Thursday. Chief Lesley Cantrell said the fire was started by a wood heater that was left unattended.

A wood heater left unattended meant almost total destruction of a Hodges home last week, despite hours of tireless effort from the Hodges Volunteer Fire Department with assistance from Vina Volunteer Fire Department.

It was Thursday night about 8 p.m. that the Hodges Volunteer Fire Department responded to house fire on Highway 172. Chief Lesley Cantrell said the homeowner’s wood heater, left unattended, was the cause.

“He had left and went to a neighbor’s house, and when he came back, the house was on fire,” Cantrell said. A suspicion is that the damper was not set or was set improperly in some way.

Cantrell said when the homeowner returned, he opened multiple doors, which resulted in a flashover of the whole house. Firefighting efforts were impeded by the stacks of firewood both inside the house, stacked all the way up the wall, as well as on the front porch. Cantrell said the VFD didn’t discover the firewood inside right away.

“We kept spraying water in and thought, ‘This thing out to be out,’” Cantrell said. When firefighters ultimately found the indoor firewood, they immediately set forth to remove the wood from the house, which aided their efforts.

Cantrell said firefighters were able to save some personal items from the bedrooms “but there wasn’t much. Everything else, it gutted it.”

Firefighters remained on the scene until after midnight. In Hodges, ten of the department’s 13 volunteers responded, and Vina added another five of its firefighters to the efforts. Cantrell extended thanks to Vina for its assistance.

Cantrell said the rain from Tuesday was a crucial factor in keeping the fire from spreading and causing an even more severe problem. “If it hadn’t been for that, all the woods behind it would have been afire,” he said.

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