Inferno devours property; 8 departments battle blaze

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018
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Raging Blaze

RAGING BLAZE – Firefighters spray water on a roaring fire that consumed the property at 237 County Road 1637 Monday night. The flames devoured two mobile homes and spread to debris, bushes and trees in the yard. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Two mobile homes near Chico burst into a raging inferno after catching fire around 11 p.m. Monday.

Six people were displaced – five adults and one child – when the homes at 237 County Road 1637 were destroyed.

Wise County Fire Marshal Jeff Doughty said homeowner Johnny Hothouse told him the fire was started by a wood burning stove in one of the trailers, which Doughty confirmed through his investigation.

“Where I found the stove was consistent with where the fire department said the fire was when they first arrived,” Doughty said. “It wasn’t on any type of blocks or anything; the legs were just sitting on the floor.”

Ready and Waiting

READY AND WAITING – Hoses run along the roadway leading to firetrucks parked on County Road 1637 Monday night. Eight departments were called to get control of a fire that was started by a wood burning stove. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Hothouse and the other occupants escaped without injury, but four years ago the family wasn’t as fortunate. On Feb. 6, 2014, 14-year-old Christopher Conn, Hothouse’s stepson, was killed in a fire at the same address. According to then-fire marshal Chuck Beard, Conn was trapped in his room, which is where the fire started around 4 a.m. A space heater was to blame.

Doughty said this blaze completely destroyed one mobile home, gutted a second mobile home and damaged a shop, which was possibly being used as living quarters. A mini-van also burned, as well as a riding lawnmower and other debris that could not be identified.

Doughty said other vehicles on the property had heat damage to taillights and paint.

The fire originated in the house and spread quickly to debris around the home, trees and bushes. Firefighters managed to contain the flames to the Hothouse property, preventing further destruction in the neighborhood near Wise County Park.

Eight fire departments were dispatched with Chico, Sand Flat, Crafton, Lake Bridgeport and Bridgeport on scene at midnight. At that time, Alvord, Decatur and Paradise were on their way with tankers. Wise County medics and sheriff’s deputies also responded

Fire crews remained on scene until 3:30 a.m. They were called back when the fire rekindled at 5 a.m., but they had it extinguished by 5:50 a.m.

The Red Cross was called to assist Hothouse and the other occupants.

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