‘They’re awesome!’

Firefighters’ quick response spares home

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ELLERBE — The residents of a home along U.S. Highway 220 north of Ellerbe were thankful their home was spared from significant damage Tuesday night thanks to a quick response from area volunteer firefighters.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Volunteer firefighters use a thermal imaging camera to help identify and manage a hotspot inside the wall of an Ellerbe home.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Volunteer firefighters use a thermal imaging camera to help identify and manage a hotspot inside the wall of an Ellerbe home.

Robyn McPherson and Danny Allred use a freestanding wood heater to keep their home warm. Both had just returned home from work and were walking the dogs when McPherson said she noticed more smoke than usual coming from the chimney.

The couple realized their home in the 3400 block of U.S. Highway 220 was on fire. McPherson said her phone — and two of her three dogs — were inside, and she went inside to get them. She took the dogs outside and used her phone to call 911. Emergency dispatchers received the call at about 5:52 p.m. and immediately deployed Mountain Creek and Ellerbe personnel.

The first volunteer firefighter was on scene within approximately three minutes, having arrived in his personal pickup truck. McPherson said she hadn’t even hung up the phone from the county emergency communications center when he arrived.

“They’re awesome,” McPherson said. “That makes you feel so good — just to see one.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The first volunteer firefighter was on scene within about three minutes of the call to 911.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The first volunteer firefighter was on scene within about three minutes of the call to 911.

The rest arrived moments later. Kenny McFayden, assistant chief for Mountain Creek, said flames were showing at the top of the chimney upon firefighters’ arrival. He put men on the roof and sent people inside.

There was no water damage. Firefighters explained that with a chimney fire, water does more harm than good and instead a dry chemical was used.

The flames were extinguished by about 6:22 p.m. and Ellerbe firefighters began to return to station 24 minutes later. Mountain Creek personnel stayed on scene to keep an eye on a potentially troublesome spot inside a wall between the freestanding wood heater in one room and, in the next, the oven range. Firefighters used additional dry chemical to prevent any possible flareups and utilized a thermal imaging camera to ensure the temperature inside the wall was cooling.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Allred scoffed at the firefighters’ apologies for the mess. He said all that could be cleaned up and expressed his appreciation for their efforts to save their rental home.

McPherson, a dedicated pet owner, said her “biggest fear” is having any of her dogs perish in a blaze, which has happened in recent weeks on multiple house fires. As for the wood heater, McPherson said they’ve used one for years — this is a newer unit. Still, “we’re just going to have to take more precautions,” she said.

McFayden said he was not able to estimate the damage the blaze caused.

 

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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