Wind whips flames on Airport Road
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Flames fueled by stiff winds swept through an Airport Road home in the first hour of Sunday (April 3), quickly rendering the structure unlivable.
“The house was a total loss,” said Atmore Fire Chief Ron Peebles, whose agency was one of three that fought the blaze for nearly three hours before finally taming it. “It’s a brick house, but the wood in it is fat lighter. There was so much fat lighter, it just wouldn’t die.”
The preliminary determination is that an electrical short in the air conditioning unit, which was located in the home’s attic, was the catalyst for the destructive fire, which was reported at 12:37 a.m.
Atmore firefighters, along with those from Walnut Hill and Poarch Creek Indians fire departments, battled the blaze and its intense heat with everything they had, said the AFD chief, who pointed out that the stiff westerly winds turned the flames into a firestorm that quickly engulfed the entire dwelling.
“There was a hydrant close by, so we had a good supply of water,” Peebles said. “We poured the water to it, but there was a strong west wind that whipped the fire through the attic and to everywhere else.”
The flames were finally brought under control around 3 a.m., and reports show that the last fire personnel cleared the scene at 3:36 a.m.
The homeowner and her family were not in the house, he said, preventing the possibility of any family member becoming trapped as the inferno raged.
“The family was out of town, so we didn’t have anybody injured, and that’s always good,” he said.