MIDWAY — Calloway County Fire-Rescue firefighters were on the scene for nearly eight hours Friday night into Saturday morning as they battled a large house fire south of Murray.
CCFR Capt. Tim Manning said Sunday that the original call for the fire in the 4400 block of U.S. 641 South, just south of the Midway community, was received a little after 6:30 p.m. Friday.
“I did not get to my bed until well after 2:30 Saturday morning. It was a long evening,” Manning said of how he and the other 35-or-so firefighters who came to extinguish the blaze were forced to give more effort than they would have liked due to how well the house is constructed.
“It was a tongue-and-groove type structure (two stories) and homes that are built that well are just difficult when you have a fire inside one of them that you have to fight. It has lots of rooms, plus this one had plaster walls instead of dry wall, which made it even tougher. When you have a fire that gets behind plaster walls, it makes it especially difficult because you have to pare brick off and you have to cut into the walls to just get to the voids where the fire is at.
“It’s just a difficult situation, but we stayed with it until we got it put out.”
Manning said 12 trucks from throughout the CCFR network of stations spread throughout the county responded to the fire. He said it was one particular unit that had the largest role in the firefighters gaining control of the blaze, and that was Pumper No. 9, which is a telesquirt unit CCFR acquired several years ago that consists of a telescopic snorkel that can be positioned above a fire.
“Due to most of the fire being in the second-story area, we decided to set up the telesquirt truck (that is kept at Station No. 1 in Murray) and what that allowed us to do was get over the top of it and help contain it,” Manning said. “Also, we had to use a lot of water all night. I’d say our tankers supplied between 50,000 and 60,000 gallons of water on this call (the majority of which came from a hydrant about a mile away at Taylor Bus Sales).
“We did have to shut down one lane of 641 South and we had guys out there directing traffic the whole time, and the great thing was we never had to shut the whole highway down except for a few minutes at a time when our trucks were shuttling back and forth to get water (from the hydrant) and to bring it back.”
Manning did say that two CCFR firefighters were taken to Murray-Calloway County Hospital for treatment of heat-related injuries, namely heat exhaustion. Those firefighters were treated and released within a few hours, he said.
“They actually both came back to the fire – not to fight the fire, but just to return and let everyone know that they were OK,” he said. “After they got some fluids in them and were able to cool down, they were fine. Yes, they wanted to be back out there fighting it and supporting everyone. That’s what happens when you have a close unit like we have and you have everybody looking out for each other.
“We’re a pretty tight-knit group.”
Manning said no one was inside the house at the time of the fire. He said the house is vacant and was being renovated. He said it is believed that the renovation team had left the house about two hours earlier. Tools of the renovation team were inside the garage, but Manning said those were found in time that they could be moved outside and not harmed.
Manning said that while the cause of the fire remains undetermined, it is not believed that anything other than accidental means was involved. He said the house received heavy fire damage to the roof, attic and second floor and heavy smoke damage on the first floor but remained standing.