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Balsora fire spreads from barrel to home

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The home of a World War II veteran was destroyed by fire Saturday evening.

Arthur “Curly” Talmage, 91, was in a workshop next to his home at 329 PR 3706 west of Balsora when a passerby alerted him to the fire just before 5 p.m. They were able to save a few items from the house before it became too dangerous.

Tough Fight

TOUGH FIGHT – Firefighters from six different departments responded to a fire Saturday evening in far west Wise County but were unable to save the home from the ravaging effects of the flames. No one was injured in the blaze. Messenger photo by Brian Knox

Once the flames reached the attic, the fire spread quickly through the single-story, wood-frame home.

Fire departments from Boonsville/Balsora, Cottondale, Bridgeport, Runaway Bay, Lake Bridgeport and Jack County Rural responded along with Wise County EMS.

Talmage was not injured.

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said Talmage had been burning trash in a burn barrel on the property earlier in the day, and the grass caught fire. Beard said Talmage thought he had put the fire out and returned to his workshop, but the grass fire reignited and spread to the home. A wall on the south side of the house caught fire before spreading into the attic.

One room in the home contained several pictures of his wife, who died in May of 2012.

“We were able to save some of the pictures before the ceiling started caving in on us,” Beard said.

The home was a total loss.

The Boonsville/Balsora Volunteer Fire Department was called to the home again around 8:15 Sunday morning when the fire apparently tried to start again.

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