The brotherhood of firefighters in McDuffie and Warren counties are coming to the aid of one of their own following a weekend fire in Warren County that destroyed the firefighter's home.
Monetary donations are being accepted from the public to help the firefighter, his wife and infant daughter, according to McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services Chief Bruce Tanner. Those donations are being accepted in cash or by check.
Persons wishing to make a donation by check should do so by making it out to Jerry Fullwood. The cash donations or checks can be dropped off at the headquarters of the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services, located on Salem Road near Harrison Road in Thomson.
Jerry Fullwood, a firefighter/first responder with the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services, was slightly injured attempting to put out the blaze that started sometime after 1 p.m. last Saturday off Wright Reese Road in Warren County. Mr. Fullwood received burns to his right foot and was taken to Doctor's Hospital in Augusta where he was treated and released, according to McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services Assistant Chief Stephen Sewell.
No one else was injured in the blaze.
Asst. Chief Sewell said it was his understanding that Mr. Fullwood was injured while attempting to put out the fire with the use of a small fire extinguisher.
Capt. Keith McIntosh of the Warren County Fire/EMS/Rescue Services said the fire is believed to have started from a bucket of hot ambers taken from a fireplace inside the home to a back porch by Mr. Fullwood.
The fire, however, had spread around the door frame and he wasn't able to save his home. The assistant fire chief said Mr. Fullwood had insurance and Capt. McIntosh said firefighters were able to salvage some household items.
Asst. Chief Sewell said Mr. Fullwood, who has been a firefighter/first responder for nearly two years, told him that he had doused the hot ambers with water beforehand.
Fire officials believe the ambers rekindled on the back porch and that the flames spread into a rear wall and into the attic of the double-wide mobile home. Mr. Fullwood, his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Autumn, about three months old, recently moved from a home in Thomson to their new home near Little Briar Creek Baptist Church in Warren County.
"They had only lived there about a month or so," Asst. Chief Sewell said. "All of us feel sad for them and want to help them anyway we can. We're also asking the community to help them through monetary donations."
Capt. McIntosh, who served as fire scene commander, said because an exact cause of the fire had not been determined as of Monday, fire officials had requested it be examined by the Georgia State Fire Marshal's Office.
Upon hearing of the fire at the home of Mr. Fullwood, several fellow firefighters from McDuffie rushed to the scene and joined other firefighters from Warren County in battling the flames.
"The home was significantly involved by the time we arrived," Capt. McIntosh said.
Capt. Steve Parish, who works part-time as a firefighter in McDuffie County and fulltime as a ranking fire official with the Augusta Fire Department, had offered a double-wide mobile home for use to Mr. Fullwood and his family later Saturday afternoon.
About 11:45 p.m. last Saturday, firefighters in McDuffie County responded to a fire at that address, located at 1159 Moose Club Road. Flames had engulfed a large portion of the unoccupied home by the time fire trucks could make it to the scene.
Capt. Parish, who was on-duty, drove to the fire in one of those trucks. There he met his wife, Marcia, who visibly was upset. The Parish family recently had moved into a brick home, according to Asst. Chief Sewell.
"They still were in the process of moving a few more things from that house into their new one," Asst. Chief Sewell said. "It's my understanding that Capt. Parish had offered Jerry and his family that home to stay in until they could arrange something else."
The state fire marshal's office also is investigating the cause of that fire. The home was extensively damaged.