Two men are homeless after their house northeast of Boyd burned before daylight Sunday morning.
Ricky King and Jesse Roberts were able to escape the blaze with their dogs, Buddy, Conan and Bear – but their belongings were lost.
The dogs watched from a pen a safe distance away, whimpering occasionally, as Boyd firefighters led the efforts to fight the blaze on County Road 4358. Rhome, Decatur and Paradise fire departments also responded, but the home could not be saved.
Gail King, who lives across the street, owns the home, but her son, Ricky, and his friend, Jesse, live there.
Between 3 and 3:30 a.m. Sunday, Jesse went into one of the home’s two bathrooms and saw a hole in the ceiling. He could see flames, and yelled, “Fire!” according to Gail. Ricky was sleeping but was awakened by the commotion, and about the time he got to the bathroom to see what was going on, the ceiling fell in.
Randy Ingram, Chief of Emergency Services District No. 1, said it appears the fire started in the attic, which is why the smoke detectors didn’t go off earlier, giving the occupants more notice. The brick house sat at the end of a tree-lined driveway about 300 to 400 feet from the road, and only one fire truck was able to get up to the house. The other trucks parked on the street, and water was relayed through hoses lining the drive.
Ingram said at a certain point the firefighters determined the house could not be saved, and at that time they began working to ensure it didn’t spread.
“Once we determine that something is to the point that it’s beyond saving, we have to make sure the fire doesn’t spread somewhere else,” he said. “Sometimes we have to control the fire as opposed to completely putting it out.”
The two-bedroom home had an aviary across one end, but no birds were inside when the fire started. Gail said she and her husband raise racing pigeons, and they use the aviary in warmer weather. Sunday morning the birds were inside a coop on the property, out of harm’s way.
“It’s just amazing how quickly something can happen that changes your life,” she said.
Gail has owned the home since 2006, and she said her son has lived there three or four years.
The American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist the two men.