Butler County Times Gazette
  • Two fires damage homes on New Year's Day

  • The El Dorado Fire Department has been kept busy this past week with two fires on New Year's Day.
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  • The El Dorado Fire Department has been kept busy this past week with two fires on New Year's Day.
    They responded to a fire at 3866 SW Hunter Rd. after the resident who was on his desk, heard some snapping, crackling type noise.
    When he went to investigate he found a fire burning in the floor. He got a fire extinguisher and tried to knock down the flames, but it didn't work. He then called 911.
    The Towanda Fire Department with Fire Chief T. C Pyle in command responded along with mutual aid from City of El Dorado, Benton and Augusta.
    Firefighters made an aggressive initial attack, but the fire had simply advanced too far for firefighters to quickly suppress.
    Firefighters fought the fire for over three hours. Water was shuttled in by tanker trucks from various departments throughout the fire fight.
    The owner and his two pet dogs were the only occupants. There was a fire in the fire place which was in close proximity to the seat of the fire, but it's unknown if that was the cause.
    It was a devastating fire in which the owner lost his entire belongings.
    Immediately upon El Dorado firefighters arrival at the Towanda fire, the department was dispatched to a structure fire in the City of El Dorado at 113 E. Locust, Lot #25.
    Upon arrival, the crews found a mobile home with smoke coming from the eves. The initial report from bystanders was the occupant might still be in the residence.
    The firefighters found a desk and bookshelf in the middle of the living room on fire and heavy smoke conditions through the structure. While the fire was being knocked down, a primary search of the structure was completed and no victims found. It was later discovered the sole occupant was away from the home.
    The fire was quickly extinguished. The fire caused heavy smoke and heat damage to the entire interior of the home. The cause of the fire is pending investigation.
    A third fire damaged a home in Rosalia on Dec. 30.
    The fire at 5243 NE 53rd St. started on the backside of the home and it quickly ran up the wall into the eve of the roof. The homeowner tried to suppress the fire with a garden hose until fire crews arrived, but the fire made it into the roof segment – which turned out to be a tight weaved maze.
    The roof was built with truss rafters – a maze of small dimension lumber sandwiched together with metal gussett plates. The bottom of the rafters - which was the ceiling – was sandwiched with 5/8″ sheet rock. The top was sandwiched with plywood, which was sandwiched with asphalt shingles, which was sandwiched with metal tin. It was a firefighter access nightmare.
    Page 2 of 2 - The time on scene was approaching the four hour mark when firefighters were finally comfortable in calling the fire "under control."
    Firefighters tried everything they could to get things done sooner. The firefighters removed the gable ends of the roof, but the cathedral construction afforded them no advantage with that approach. The firefighters removed sections of the roof, but the open maze roof trusses simply let the fire move into other areas of the roof.
    Chief Bender and the Rosalia Firefighters were aided by Chief Moody and the City of El Dorado Firefighters. Over thirty firefighters assisted with the arduous fire fight.
    Some of the family's keepsakes were salvaged, but the majority of their valuables were either damaged or destroyed. Two pets were yet to be found as of the report.
    The Red Cross was on scene assisting the family. Luckily, no injuries were reported to either family or firefighters. Butler County Medics were also on scene in case there was an injury or illness, as well as providing rehab for firefighters.
    It was reported that some hot coals were placed around a plastic trashcan that sat next to the exterior wall in the area of fire origin. At this time the cause of the fire is under investigation.
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