Pickens fire crews had to deal with a rapidly spreading flame that reached vehicles and outbuildings Sunday night.
Pickens County Fire Department / Photo
Pickens fire crews responded to blazes at two mobile homes in the past week with one resulting in a near-total loss, while the other was contained to one room.
Sunday at 2:55 a.m. the home of Tommy and Cindy Clark on Beaver Ridge Road caught fire in “a fast-moving fire that progressed rapidly,” according to Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Clark.
The owners were not home, but members of their family were, and if it had not been for smoke detectors, the fire could have resulted in fatalities, Clark said.
“There was heavy smoke,” he said. “They had to literally crawl out the back door.”
If the smoke detector had not alarmed, they could have been cut off from an exit, Clark said.
Clark has ruled the cause of the fire electrical. It involved the main electrical panel, he said.
Aside from its rapid progression, the fire was a challenge, Clark said, due to “multiple exposures” – four vehicles, a boat, a utility trailer and a garage all near the home.
Clark said fire crews from volunteer departments at Bethany-Salem, Tate, Yellow Creek and Hinton along with paid county crews were able to save the garage, but the double-wide mobile home with further additions was a complete loss. The vehicles and boat were also damaged, he said. “You try to get as much help as you can with so many exposures and a fire that big,” he said.
“It was an interesting challenge to have that many vehicles involved,” Clark said. He said he initially thought it might have been one of the vehicles that caused the flames but then determined it was the electrical source.
Clark said crews did all they could, but this fire “just had a good headstart; it was well-developed prior to our arrival.”
The second fire (last Thursday) was at a rental home owned by Dorothy Watson and rented by the Kirby family on Collins Road.
Here, Clark said the fire cause originated from a bed, an indication it was some type of accidental fire as “there was zero heat source” in that area.
Clark said the mother and three children at the rented residence were home at about 7 p.m. The mother first tried to put the fire out herself, an effort that included dragging the mattress outside.
Unsuccessful, she had to call 911, according to reports. Clark said law enforcement agents were first to arrive. They slowed the flames with fire extinguishers until fire crews arrived and stopped the fire in one room. Clark said the mobile home is repairable, the only loss being some contents of the room that burned.
“This home had no working smoke detectors,” Clark said. “There were two there, but neither were working (one had missing batteries, the other was taken down). This is a common situation in a rental unit.”
He said it was fortunate the fire occurred in the early evening hours before anyone went to sleep, since there would have been no smoke detector warning.
Clark said if the larger, faster fire had occurred in the home without smoke detectors, “We would have had fatalities. Of that I’m convinced. Smoke detectors are so important.”
Local Red Cross director Andy Thompson said they are working with both families. The Red Cross assists families that experience a fire or other disaster, providing funds for food, shelter and clothing. If you would like to help fund the work of the local Red Cross, please mail a check to Red Cross 1266 East Church St. Suite 154 Jasper, Ga. 30143.
Revisit advance health directives every five years, attorney says
According to discussion at last week’s senior center program, advance health directives are essential when considering how you’d like your final days to be and they offer assurance that your medical care is carried out as you’d like at a time when you may not be able to instruct caregivers or doctors.
In a culture where death isn’t readily discussed, you can have peace of mind that your wishes concerning how you die are carried out through an advance health directive, according to speakers at a series on end-of-life decisions at the Pickens Senior Citizens Center on Stegall Drive.
The Georgia directive, which can be found online, combines a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care, allowing people to choose for themselves issues relating to their medical care. From assigning a health care agent and guardian to detailing treatment preferences such as whether you want to withhold or withdraw life support or accept or refuse nutrition and/or hydration, the health care directive can be an all encompassing tool to ensure you control all aspects of your personal and medical care.
PHS Track & Field athletes Megan Dixon (girls’ pole vault), Tyler Craig (boys’ pole vault), and Justin Weaver (3200 meter run) competed over the past weekend at the Coaches’ Invitational at Georgia Tech, all having made the limited field of competitors because of their top performances in prior meets. Since the meet was a combined high school and college event, there was a lot of exciting action to watch.
Above, Tyler Craig eases himself over the bar at 12’6” at last Saturday’s Coaches’ Invitational which was held at Georgia Tech’s track. Craig finished 7th in the competition, and is now credited with the new PHS school record in the event.
See reports from other spring sports in this Wednesday’s print edition.
Pickens Animal Shelter held its grand opening Saturday.
The community was able to tour the shelter and see the occupants. Chief deputy Joe McDonald said, Pickens inmates did all of the work, and built all of the kennels from scratch.Lieutenant Wayne Cooley and inmates spent 40,000 man hours working to make this shelter possible.
Project Manager/Animal shelter director Christina Voyles helped order supplies and talked to vets about necessary precautions. She has also presuaded people to drive from out of state to adopt animals. In 2010 Voyles save rate for animals was 57 percent. Shelter hours are: Monday-closed, Tuesday-12 to 5, Wednesday-12 to 5, Thursday-12-5, Friday-12 to 5, Saturday-11 to 3 and Sunday-closed. For more information contact 706-253-8983
During Thursday’s school board meeting, Michael Land was recognized as this year’s valedictorian for Pickens High. Jessica Bell was recognized as the salutatorian.
Besides the valedictorian and salutatorian, students involved with reading bowls, academic teams, the high school band and Pickens Middle School basketball were recognized.
PHS Principal Chris Williams said involvement in extra-curricular activities leads to and helps build success in school.
“There is a direct correlation between extracurricular activities and academic performance,” Williams said in a follow-up interview. “Anything that is positive and challenges them after school correlates into success in the classroom.”
Above, Valedictorian Michael Land and Salutatorian Jessica Bell receive recognition plaques during Thursday’s school board meeting.