January 3, 2014 10:10:21 AM
Carl Smith - firstname.lastname@example.org
Two trailer fires within the first 26 hours of 2014 sent volunteer firefighters scrambling across the eastern portion of Oktibbeha County on Wednesday and Thursday.
East Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department responded to two mobile home fires, one late Wednesday night and another in the early morning hours Thursday. No injuries were reported from either blaze.
Oktibbeha County Chief Deputy Chadd Garnett said an electrical issue appeared to spark the first fire. The second remains under investigation.
The first fire occurred about 11:50 a.m. Monday in the Hickory Grove area. Officials with the county's volunteer fire service gave conflicting reports on the trailer's specific location.
The occupants of the first trailer were not at home when firefighters arrived at the scene, EOCVFD Chief Greg Ball said. Residents called 911 when they arrived home and found smoke pouring from the structure's windows.
Firefighters quickly knocked down the fire, but the structure sustained significant heat and smoke damage, Ball said.
The fire displaced about three people, Ball said. Officials with the local Red Cross chapter are assisting the family.
As firefighters were winding down the Hickory Grove operation about 1:15 a.m. Friday, dispatchers alerted them to another structure fire at 4774 Blackjack Road. Even though emergency personnel had a geographic head start -- the location is closer to the first scene than East's headquarters -- Oktibbeha County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said the second, unoccupied trailer was already fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. The intense blaze also sparked fires on nearby trees, and a propane tank was threatened by the encroaching flames, Rosenhan said.
The Blackjack Road structure had been uninhabited for about three or four years and did not have an active electrical connection, officials said. It was collapsed and deemed a total loss by the time deputies arrived.
The fire remains under investigation.
EOCVFD was assisted by Bell Schoolhouse and District 5 volunteer fire departments.
"We started off pretty quickly in the new year, but we rolled with the punches on both of them," Ball said. "I want to remind everyone to double check your smoke detectors and make sure they're in working order, and also remember to never use cooking appliances for heat sources during the winter."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch