Firefighters battle blaze in frigid conditions

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Firefighters battle a blaze Friday at a house at 4012 Barnes Hill Church Road in the West Mount community.


Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Local firefighters battled a blaze for hours Friday in icy conditions but were unable to save the home.

The West Mount Fire Department responded to the call that came in about 10:55 a.m. Friday morning, but it took them and other crews about nine minutes to reach the home at 4012 Barnes Hill Church Road in the West Mount community. 

“The weather that day really hampered our response time,” Nash County Deputy Fire Marshall John Frazier told the Telegram. “The roads were not in good condition.”

Frazier said that fire crews arrived to find all people had left the home. However, a neighbor, who called the fire department, said he had to go in and convince a female occupant to leave the home before firefighters arrived.

“Apparently the resident did not realize the severity of the fire and did not realize that it had already gotten in the walls. She was trying to put it out herself,” Frazier said.

The Nashville Fire Department, Coopers Fire Department, Red Oak Fire Department and Sharpsburg Fire Department also responded to the call, Frazier said. The Sharpsburg and Red Oak fire departments were brought in for their water tenders, as their was no fire hydrant neat the home.

Firefighters battled the blaze in 15-degree temperatures and had to contend with freezing water. However, Frazier said he was prepared to deal with the situation.

“When I arrived on scene, I called the N.C. Department of Transportation and had them send salt and sand trucks because we would be dealing with water shuttle operation in freezing temperatures,” Frazier said.

Even so, the crews were not able to bring the fire under control until about 2 p.m. and could not clear the scene until 4:30 p.m., Frazier said. 

The female occupant of the house was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and later released. The American Red Cross is assisting the couple who lived there with their needs after the fire.

Frazier said he wished the house could have been saved.

“With ice on the ground, the delayed response time due to road conditions and the nature of the construction of an older home that had been through several remodels, we were faced with some tactical challenges in fighting the fire,” Frazier said. “Our No. 1 priority is the safety of the occupants and our personnel and the protection of surrounding property.”