Late-night fire leaves two houses destroyed, one other damaged

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; John and Elizabeth Owens and their five grandchildren were asleep Thursday night when a knock at the door alerted them to a fire that had spread to their home at 309 E. Jackson Street.

According to Beverly Owens, John Owens&8217;s sister-in-law, someone from nearby Church Aflame World Outreach Ministries saw the fire and came to notify the family.

Captain Carl Johnson of Demopolis Fire Department and his crew of four firefighters were the first to respond to the scene after receiving the call at 10:17 p.m.

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The Owens family was evacuated and no injuries were sustained. The home and the house at 410 S. Chestnut Street, which was the former home of the late Mamie Foster of Demopolis, sustained devastating damage. Also the siding on the house at 408 S. Chestnut Street sustained minor damage, but firefighters were able to control the blaze.

Willie Clayton, who was at the scene Thursday night, said he owns the house at 410 S. Chestnut Street and no one was living in the residence at the time.

Johnson also said that according to officials at Alabama Power who had come to do routine checks on power lines near the home on 410 S. Chestnut, the home had been vacant and dilapidated for some time.

Johnson said that one of the main contributors to the spread of the fire to the Jackson Street home was the proximity of the houses to one another, which was approximately 10 feet.

There was also a downed power line behind 410 S. Chestnut that blocked firefighters from gaining access to the back of the house.

Johnson said it took approximately one and a half hours to control the fires, but they were not able to clear the scene until 3:30 a.m. At this time, they do not know the cause of the fire.

In addition to the aid of the Linden Fire Department, which supplied more equipment, four additional firemen and the aid of Chief James Creel, several retired Demopolis firemen were on hand to help control the blaze.

According to Owens, the family stayed at a local hotel Thursday night. Owens said that Friday morning, the family went to the American Red Cross office in Linden to seek assistance for their circumstances. So far, there has not been a donation center set up for the family.

If you would like to find out more about how to help, please contact Beverly Owens at 334-289-8587.