An Elcomb woman, who teaches at Rosspoint Elementary School, Christie Wright Johnson, and her two young daughters, ages 12 and 14, found themselves without a home Sunday evening after it was destroyed by fire.
Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steven Hatfield said after receiving a call Sunday evening about a structure fire in lower Elcomb, upon arrival they found the home already well involved with smoke coming out of the roof.
“We were on the scene within seven to eight minutes, but with the high wind we had it just fueled the fire,” said Hatfield. “There was fire blowing 50 to 60 feet laying out on the grass. The fire even swept across one of our fire trucks, scorching it good.”
Hatfield said no one was at home during the time of the fire. He said the fire also damaged three surrounding homes, melting siding and catching shingles on fire.
“The upstairs of the home was unfinished and when the fire reached the second floor it just spread rapidly through everything,” said Hatfield. “There was just nothing up there to slow the flames down.”
Hatfield also reported Harlan Fire Department firefighter James Billings attempted to enter the home upon his arrival and received minor burns to both his arms.
Billings said he went through the front door of the home in an attempt to put the fire out and “the fire rolled over on top of him and burned him on his way out.”
Harlan Fire Department Chief Linette Hutchison said “EMS checked Billings out” and determined it was only minor burns to his arms. She said he’s “good to go.”
Johnson’s grandmother, Shirley Hornsby said she is “thankful” no one was seriously injured during the fire.
“I cooked for them and they had just left my house to go to the grocery store,” said Hornsby. “Upon their arrival home, the home was already smoking badly. Christie tried to run in and recover some things, but had to leave because of the heavy smoke. Her uncle, Randy Hornsby, also ran in to retrieve some items and received some minor burns on his hands. They were planning to leave on vacation next week. Christie was shaking all over. The kids are awful upset, lost everything they had. I’d like to ask everyone to please pray for my granddaughter and great-grandchildren. They are going to need a lot of support in the days to come.”
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Along with the Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department,the Harlan Fire Department, the Harlan County Rescue Squad, Loyall Fire Department and Martins Fork Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org