OREANA — Three firefighters needed hospital treatment Monday afternoon as they battled a fierce home blaze in the countryside between Oreana and Decatur.
Argenta-Oreana Fire Department Chief Cory White said one firefighter suffered a shoulder injury after a fall and two others suffered heat-related difficulties.
“The air temperature yesterday (Monday) was hot with a heat index in the 100s,” White said. “With a big fire like this, the conditions were extremely difficult.”
The two-story home and its garage in the 5100 block of Forest Parkway off Cundiff Road were severely damaged in a fire that appears to have been sparked by discarded hot ashes from a barbecue, White said.
“Everybody in the family who lived there who had been home at the time was out when we got there, and the garage was already fully involved when we arrived,” White said.
“It took us about three hours to get it all knocked down, and we were there for about six hours total," he added. "The house had been remodeled several times, which caused some void spots in the structure that we couldn’t get to and it was just really tough to get it stopped.”
The 48-member Argenta-Oreana department had 28 firefighters on the scene and received mutual aid from nine other agencies.
White said the house will be declared a total loss, but the family refused help from the American Red Cross and said they would be assisted by family.
“I told them if they changed their mind to call me back,” White said.
The fire chief warned homeowners to be very careful with discarded barbecue ashes and keep them well away from building structures.
This story has been corrected to show the Argenta-Oreana Fire Department has 48 members and 28 firefighters were called to the scene.