HOUSTON – A fast and furious storm blew through town Monday downing power lines and is being blamed for a fire that destroyed a Houston home.
A front moved through the area from west to east about 1:15 p.m. blowing over trees that blocked city streets and knocking out electricity to a large part of Houston.
“That storm was responsible for a fire on Tindall Circle,” said Houston Fire Department Captain Jonathan Blankenship. “We are not sure if the trees fell into a power line and sent a surge into the home or if lightning struck and sparked the fire.”
Blankenship said firefighters were called to the home of Joe and Libba Criddle, at 101 Tindall Circle, at 1:25 p.m., and found smoke and flames coming from a utility room when they entered the house.
“She was home alone and said she heard a boom and then there was fire coming from the hot-water heater,” said Blankenship. “She was outside when we arrived and there was a big fire inside.”
Blankenship said firefighters had the fire under control at 2:20 p.m. and had it out at 3:57 p.m.
“The home had a metal roof and that held the heat in and prevented us from getting at the fire,” said Blankenship. “It was a very hot fire and thick smoke was a problem that repeatedly kept us from locating the fire the entire time we were on the scene.”
Blankenship said nine firefighters and two pumper trucks responded to the alarm. The house was described as a total loss.
Norma Kilgore, General Manager of Natchez Trace Electric Power Association, said the storm snapped at least 15 poles in the area and an undetermined number of trees were blown into power lines.
“Outages were reported from Mantee to Houlka and we had crews out almost immediately,” said Kilgore. “We had a line down that affected both Walmart and Trace Regional Hospital.
“We had four poles down on Highway 389, traffic lights out at Grocer’s Pride and a cracked pole in the industrial park,” said Kilgore. “We called Pontotoc and asked for assistance almost immediately.”
As quickly as the storm arrived, it left and sunshine was visible that afternoon.
“As with any power outage we want people to call us as soon as they lose power,” said Kilgore, “but we also ask them to be patient as we try to quickly restore power.”
Police and fire crews reported no major injuries as a result of the storm.