NEWS HEADLINES

Blaze guts home

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rescue cats Ink, Kittley and Gitty have now been saved not once, but twice by Rickie and Barbara Fisher.

The couple grabbed the felines as they dashed from their burning home in Crafton Saturday evening. Once outside they put the cats inside their sedan with the windows cracked to keep them safe while firefighters worked feverishly to put out the blaze. Despite the efforts of five departments, the home was a total loss.

Heavy Smoke

HEAVY SMOKE – Firefighters work in 100-degree temperatures to control a fire that consumed a Crafton home Saturday. Messenger photo by Kristen Tribe

The terrified cats huddled in the floorboards of the car.

“They were all rescue cats,” said Barbara. “I brought Ink from New York. My son couldn’t keep him in his apartment, so I brought him here. He’s 18 now.”

The two younger cats had been dumped near the Fishers’ home on Farm Road 2127, just a few doors down from the Crafton fire department.

Rickie said he and his wife were home when the blaze began. He was dozing on the couch about 5 p.m. when his wife called him into the computer room, and they could smell something burning.

“When we pulled the curtains back, we could see flames on the outside,” he said. “I got the outside out. But then I realized it was already in the walls and underneath. I told her to call 911, get the cats and get out.”

Kennedale Fire Marshal J.C. Travis, who was covering for Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard, said a recently installed air conditioner “put a heavy load on the wiring.”

“The breakdown of electrical wiring caused the fire,” he said. “The wiring and air conditioner were appropriate. Unfortunately, it was the age of the wiring and the wind.”

The fire started on one end of the house, and Travis said high winds quickly pushed it underneath and through the home.

Crafton, Chico, Sand Flat, Bridgeport and Alvord fire departments all responded to the blaze, and Travis was impressed with their work.

“The guys from the fire departments did a great job containing that fire,” he said. “I was expecting to see just poles and a hot water heater sticking up, but they put a really great stop on it. They did great work.”

Travis said since the trailer was built in 1986, “none of the agencies would keep insurance on it, so essentially they lost everything.”

The fire marshal was able to find a small, octagon-shaped jewelry box for Barbara.

“I tried to go into their bedroom, but I started falling through the floor,” he said. “She described to me where it should have been, and from the window I was able to find that little jewelry box. All the jewelry [which was handmade by Barbara’s sister] was protected, and that seemed to give them a little hope.

“The homeowners have a wonderful attitude, and they believe they are going to get through this,” he said.

The American Red Cross was called to the scene to help with their immediate needs.

“Like I say, God doesn’t close a door, unless he’s about to open another one,” Rickie said. He also commended the fire departments for their fast response time.

“We got out safe, and we got the cats,” said Barbara. “I’m just so glad because that would have broke my heart.”

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