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Russellville family loses home to fire Dec. 21

A Dec. 21 fire represented “almost a completely total loss” for one Russellville family, according to fire marshal Justin Green.

“Around lunchtime, I think, we got the call,” Green said. “Everybody was out of the structure, but when we got there, the house was already well-involved in the back left bedroom. Chief (Joe Mansell) was already on scene; I was right behind him.”

He said Mansell grabbed a nozzle and attempted a blitz attack – spraying a little water from the outside to let the steam cool the fire – but “the wind was blowing the fire toward the front door,” Green said. “But they ended up getting in and suppressing the fire.”

Tharptown Volunteer Fire Department assisted the Russellville Fire Department with manpower and water shutting. Littleville also provided manpower.

Green said the house and contents were almost a total loss. He surmised that the cause of the fire – officially classified as “undetermined/non-suspicious” – was either a wall heater or an extension cord, with the extension cord being the most likely option. He cautioned people to remember to unplug extension cords when not in use and to pay close attention to the cord’s condition; if a cord is worn or damaged at all, dispose of it and replace it.

RFD quickly mobilized to make sure the family was taken care of for the Christmas holiday. The 3-year-old girl received toys from the Helping Santa program, along with items donated by the firefighters from their own homes. The department also connected the family with American Red Cross, Calvary Baptist Church and other local aid organizations.

The fire started in the 3-year-old’s bedroom, which Green said should even further drive home the importance of safe usage of extension cords and other devices that can cause fires.

“If it had been two o’clock in the morning, she wouldn’t have been here,” Green said.