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Friday fire guts house, leaves family uninjured

A Meadow View Drive home was extensively damaged by a Friday morning fire that left the homeowner questioning fire crews' response times.

fire1.jpg

A firefighter works on the outside of the home.

John Hunt's single-story home at 1557 Meadow View Drive caught fire around to 6:30 a.m. as his wife was cooking chicken.

"I was asleep, and I heard her hollering. I thought it was a dream until I smelled the smoke," he said, adding a wet rug and water were used in an attempt to contain the fire. "I could see it was too big for us to put out after I tried and burnt my fingers."

As Mr. Hunt, his wife Joann and others waited by the family's pool for firefighters to arrive, Mr. Hunt was shaken and upset at what he said was a delay.

"How can it take so long?" he asked. "They are real close by."

While the South McDuffie fire station is 1.7 miles from Hunt's home, it is not manned, according to Chief Jim Mullis.

"The county firefighters have to get their clothes on and get around just like everyone else. That station is not manned and it takes a while to get fire machines and men to a scene," he said.

A computer generated 911 report showed the initial call from Mr. Hunt's residence came at 6:28 a.m. and the call was given to firefighters at 6:29 a.m. Two fire trucks, one from South McDuffie Fire Department, and men were on the scene at 6:44 a.m., according to the report. The second truck responded from a station at the Thomson-McDuffie County Airport.

fire2.jpg

Homeowner John Hunt (left) talks with firefighter Stephen Sewell.

"Time can get real sensitive when you are on the responding end or victim end of a tragedy. Minutes can seem like hours," said McDuffie County Fire Service Chief Bruce Tanner.



Web posted on Thursday, July 1, 2004


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