Woman escapes through window

AFD Capt. Jeremy Blackmon clears glass from a window through which firefighters entered the home.

An Atmore woman was injured but escaped with her life when a Monday night, March 6, fire destroyed her Martin Luther King Drive home.

Atmore Fire Chief Ron Peebles said the unidentified woman had to break a window and climb through it, apparently after smoke began to fill the small dwelling and render her unable to find the door.

“She got out, but she had to bust a window,” Peebles said Tuesday morning. “She had to be taken by ambulance to Atmore Community Hospital, and she had to have several stitches from where she was cut by the broken glass.”

The owner of the rental home reported to the chief that the occupant told him she “heard something, then smelled smoke.” The home’s doors were bolted shut, and it took several well-placed kicks before the entry finally gave way. Meanwhile, firefighters had to break more windows to gain access.

According to AFD reports, local emergency dispatchers received the first report of the fire at 8:53 p.m., and the first fire-suppression unit arrived four minutes later. The last firefighters cleared the scene at 11:30 p.m.

Although the walls were still standing and most of the roof intact, Peebles labeled the structure “a total loss.”

Atmore firefighters had quelled most of the flames when reinforcements from Poarch Fire Department arrived under a mutual aid agreement. Still, smoke poured from broken windows, from the home’s attic and from below its eaves.

An AFD crew used a ladder to gain access to the attic and douse the source of the smoke that poured from the house’s upper portion while others monitored hot spots and searched the interior of the home for other possible sources of ignition.

Atmore police blocked the street and diverted traffic around the blaze.

Peebles said the preliminary investigation, which was conducted by flashlight, failed to determine the origin of the blaze. He and other AFD personnel were to return to the scene Tuesday for further examination.