Russellville home lost to fire

After six hours of battling a house fire in Russellville, fire officials said the damage was so extensive that the home is being considered a total loss.

According to Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell, firefighters were dispatched to a home in the 900 block of Burgess Street in Russellville about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Mansell said when crews arrived on the scene, flames were already visible and many of the flames were shooting 30 feet above the roof.

“The fire was fully involved when we got there,” Mansell said.

“Usually when the flames are already shooting that high, you’re not going to have a very good outcome as far as being able to salvage the home.”

Mansell said the man who lived in the residence was not home at the time, so firefighters immediately began an attempt to extinguish the flames.

“The fire was very intense,” Mansell said. “In addition to our guys, we had crews helping us from Tharptown and the Russellville Police Department also assisted us at the scene.”

Mansell said there were several firefighters who sustained minor burns and injuries but no one was seriously injured in the blaze.

“We were very fortunate that no one was hurt badly,” Mansell said.

“There’s always a chance for that, no matter how intense the fire is, so we are thankful everyone made it home safe.

Mansell said the warm weather on Thursday was also a factor.

“Thursday was one of the hottest days we’ve had so far this year,” he said.

“Temperatures were near 90 degrees and we appreciate Pleasant Bay Ambulance Service for remaining on scene to provide medical support and to help keep the guys hydrated.”

Mansell said the fire was finally extinguished after 10 p.m. and a crew remained on scene for the rest of the night to make sure no other hot spots flared up.

“The guys did and excellent job, and we appreciate all those who assisted us with this fire,” he said.

“The home itself is still standing, but the damage is so extensive that there won’t be any way to salvage it. We’re considering it a total loss, but of course the insurance company will have to make a final determination.”

Mansell said the city is still in the process of filling the position of city fire marshal, left vacant following the retirement of Steve Thornton, so the RFD called in officials from the state fire marshal’s office to investigate the cause of the fire.

“It appears the fire started in the kitchen area and then spread throughout the house,” Mansell said.

“An official cause has not been determined, but there was nothing at the scene to point to anything but an accidental fire.”

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