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Friday fires keep firefighters busy

By By Sharon White/The Meridian Star
March 11, 2001
City and county firefighters had a long night fighting separate fires which kept them out until the early hours of Saturday morning.
Heavy property damage was reported in both cases.
At about 10:30 p.m. Friday night, Meridian firefighters were called to a house fire at 1613 15th St. Flames were coming through the roof when they arrived.
Battalion Chief Howard Gibson sent firefighters into the burning house to see if anyone was inside. After about 30 minutes of firefighters battling the blaze and searching in the dark, the occupant arrived home and told Gibson no one was inside.
Gibson said the fire is being classified as accidental.
He said he believed the fire was started by a cigarette down in a couch or mattress, or from a candle left unattended.
The house was being occupied by Carolyn Hickman and is owned by Charles and Betty Hartin, he said records showed.
Firefighters remained on the scene until after 2 a.m., and had to have Meridian police close off 15th Street for nearly two hours.
Meanwhile, volunteer firefighters from four departments worked from about 10 p.m. Friday until nearly 3 a.m. Saturday trying to bring a blaze under control at 13202 Newton End Road in Collinsville.
Joining Duffee to help put out the fire were the Collinsville, Martin and Suqualena volunteer fire departments.
Strange said a man and his two sons lived in the wood-framed structure. They were away at the time of the fire.
At one point, Strange had to be transported by Metro Ambulance to Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center where he was treated for "overexertion," he said. Strange said he became weak while taking on his second air-pack to go into the house to see if anyone was inside.
He was released in time to make it to a volunteer fire department work session Saturday morning, and then the cleanup from the fire.
Another fire in Meridian Saturday afternoon turned out slightly different, said Battalion Chief Derek Partridge.
He said although smoke was pouring from the attic at 1414 35th Ave. at about 2:15 p.m. when firefighters arrived, damage was light.
Partridge said a space heater was to blame.
Sharon White is a staff writer for the Meridian Star. E-mail her at