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Fire destroys home, occupant unaccounted for

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The elderly, handicapped resident of a mobile home ravished by fire early Sunday morning, is unaccounted for.

The fire was called in at around 4:45 a.m. As of 6:30, the occupant had not been tracked down.

Cottondale, Paradise, Newark, and Boyd volunteer fire departments responded to the structure fire on County Road 4594 west of Boyd. When Cottondale units first checked on scene around 5:20, the single-wide mobile home was fully engulfed.

“It was a defensive fire from the beginning,” said Paradise Fire Chief John Neal, whose department assumed command.

After the fire was contained and under control, command ceased fire operations, around 6 a.m.

“We’re in a holding pattern. There is still power to the scene so there’s a lot of sparking,” Neal said. “Given it’s a total loss of the home, we didn’t want to risk our firefighters.”

A neighbor, who was awoken by the wind and what sounded like gunshots, discovered the fire.

“I thought I heard my shop door was opening and closing … I was walking out to the shop and I saw the flames,” Jason Carter said. “I was getting ready to call in anyway because it sounded like someone was shooting (close by).”

More information will be posted as it becomes available.