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Intense fire draws countywide response

June 13, 2012

By CARL SMITH
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

Firefighters from across the county convened on an intense structure fire Wednesday in the Sunset community near Starkville city limits.
Oktibbeha County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said Central Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to 1068 Horseshoe Circle shortly before noon yesterday. Once at the scene, Rosenhan said smoke was billowing from the home’s attic and intense flames had begun breaking through its roof.

Rosenhan said the home’s occupants and contractors working at the house were present during the fire, and no one was injured.

Upon arrival, county fire services requested additional manpower and water due to the fire’s intensity. Firefighters from Adaton/Self Creek Volunteer Fire Department, District 5 Volunteer Fire Department, East Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department and Starkville Fire Department joined in the firefight and rotated shifts to prevent heat exhaustion, Rosenhan said.

“We easily had 20 guys consistently at the scene off and on rotations,” he said.

Although the fire traveled much of the roof’s length, firefighters had the blaze under control by 12:30 p.m. Volunteers proceeded to ventilate the home through its roof and attack hot spots through early afternoon. Emergency responders remained at the scene through the afternoon.

“The fire was discovered by a workman following an electrical failure or some sort of incident in the attic,” Rosenhan said. “Most of the fire was upstairs above the ceiling, and that’s what made it hard to get to and hard to extinguish. The fire definitely had full possession of the attic and walls, and we had to get between the walls with our axes and chainsaws. Because of the heat and the physical exertion required for firefighting and overhaul, we rotated our guys in an effort to make sure everyone stayed safe.”

Despite saving most of the house’s main structure, Rosenhan said the home is uninhabitable following the fire. Firefighters were able to save numerous possessions from fire and smoke damage, Rosenhan said, including a piano, which had to be carried out by six volunteers.
“I’m proud of the good work of the various fire department personnel that responded. Everyone worked very hard to ensure that we did a good job safely,” Rosenhan said. “(Local residents) brought us water and food while we were at the scene. We appreciate the support of the neighborhood.”

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