HOUSTON – The two coldest days in recent history last week saw two house fires that totally destroyed both homes.
Firefighters were called to a house fire on County Road 168 east of Houston, on the morning of Jan. 7, and then to a house fire on Wednesday on County Road 63 north of Woodland. No one was injured in either blaze.
While the exact cause of either blaze has not been determined, the single digit cold temperatures are believed to have prompted heaters in both structures to stay on for extended periods of time or malfunction and spark the blazes.
The bitter cold also froze the four-inch water line to Chickasaw County’s tanker truck making it ineffective at Tuesday’s fire.
Firefighters were dispatched to 245 CR 168 east of Houston at 10:45 a.m. with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees.
“Everything I own was in that house,” said Phyllis Buchanan. “I don’t know what I am going to do and I don’t even know where I am going to stay tonight.”
Buchanan said she had taken her grandchild to the doctor in Houston when she got a call saying her house was on fire.
“The neighbors called it in after they spotted smoke coming out of the house,” said Capt. Jason Davis of the Houston Fire Department. “When we got there, the home was totally involved.”
Firefighters brought the blaze under control in about 15 minutes and were on the scene until noon wetting down hotspots.
Buchanan said the brick and wood frame home was not insured.
Southeast Volunteer Fire Department was the primary at this fire with the Okolona and Houston fire departments also dispatched vehicles to the fire.
“The cold weather froze the county tanker truck and we had difficulty with that,” said Davis. “The time of day and the cold weather made us a little slim on manpower.”
Davis said the cause of the fire has not been determined.
CR 63 house fire
WOODLAND – Firefighters from Woodland, Houston and Rhodes Chapel were called to a fire at 619 County Road 63 about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and found the brick facade and wood frame home totally involved.
R.C. Wheeler was at home at the time of the blaze and told Woodland firefighter Larry Watkins he woke up, smelled smoke and got out.
“He got out of the house still in his pajamas and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance,” said Watkins. “He was not injured in the blaze but we did want to get him checked out and he appears to be Ok. It was very cold.”
Firefighters arrived on the scene with flames pouring from the east end of the house.
Neighbors pulled a vintage 1925 Studebaker from a storage room on the back side of the house. Firefighters and neighbors pulled a Chrysler LeBaron from under the carport and also dragged a Winnebago RV away from the house.
Watkins said a neighbor driving by the home saw smoke and flames and reported the fire.
Firefighters battled the blaze for about 30 minutes before getting it under control. The fire was put out around 11 a.m.
HOUSTON – The Houston Fire Department responded to a car fire on Highway 15 Bypass Monday, Jan. 6 and found a vehicle on fire.
The 2000 Chevrolet Impala was being driven by Fredrick Brownlee when it caught fire Jan. 6. The fire destroyed the engine compartment and interior of the vehicle.
“The driver said he was driving down the highway when he saw smoke,” said Capt. Jonathan Blankenship of the Houston Fire Department. “He got out and no one was hurt and we don’t know a cause at this time.”
Firefighters speculated the cold weather froze the cooling system prompting the engine to overheat and catch fire.
Blankenship said the vehicle was totally destroyed by the fire.