Athens Review, Athens, Texas

January 22, 2014

Saturday blaze destroys north Athens residence

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — A 50-year-old woman and an infant were able to escape a burning residence in north Athens on Saturday that proved a tough battle for local departments who responded to the early-evening blaze.

No one was injured in the fire, but the wooden-frame residence at 707 N. Palestine St. was determined to be a total loss. Athens Fire Marshal Ronnie Denton said the woman had been cooking when the fire broke out, but she  passed out.

The resident awoke when she heard the 1-year-old crying, and noticed that the back wall behind the kitchen stove was on fire. The woman picked up the child, and left the  building, then called the fire department.

According to Athens Police Department dispatch, the call reporting the fire was received at 7:24 p.m. AFD responded with the Quint ladder truck and another fire engine. When AFD command reached the scene, the house was well-involved in flames.

All available AFD firefighters were paged to the blaze. The departments from Brownsboro and Murchison were also called to the scene. Athens Fire Marshal Ronnie Denton was also dispatched to the fire to investigate. At 7:39 p.m. all personnel were ordered out of the structure, and they concentrated on containing the fire.

Firefighters battled the blaze for more than 90 minutes before it was declared out at 8.56 p.m. AFD cleared the scene shortly before 10 p.m.

The Athens Police Department assisted with traffic control. Oncor was notified of the house fire, and informed that a powerline was down beside the structure.  The woman was taken to East Texas Medical Center, Athens, for minor injuries that occurred when she lost consciousness before the fire, Denton said.

Denton returned to the house on Tuesday to document the scene. He also spoke with the woman and took her statement about how the fire started. Denton said it appears to be a grease fire. 

The home was the second one destroyed on the street in about a month. On Dec. 18, a 75-year-old man walked out of his house at 839 N. Prairieville St. to escape a fire that destroyed much of the residence.