By Patrick Johnston, Eufaula Tribune – A Friday morning fire on North Orange Avenue destroyed the home of a long-time Eufaula foster parent.
The fire occurred just before 10:30 AM at the home of 90-year-old Rosie Thornton. According to an incident report from the Eufaula Fire and Rescue Squad, the home was “well-involved” when firefighters arrived. Thornton said she heard an explosion and saw flames.
“She saw a ball of fire coming in the back storage area,” Lt. Will Slade of the Eufaula Fire Department said. “We were lucky nobody was hurt.”
Upon investigation, a pinhole was found in a gas line going to the dryer. The fire started from the water heater pilot light, which was located next to the dryer.
The structure received extensive fire damage to the rear of the house and water damage to the rest of the house.
Eufaula Mayor Jay Jaxon commented on the fire at Monday’s press conference. Thornton has raised more than 80 foster children over the years.
“She’s a very special person to this community,” Jaxon said.
Thornton told Jaxon, “I know I will be taken care of.” Jaxon encouraged local residents to support Thornton.
“I would encourage people who are friends of hers to lend a hand,” he said. “It was a pretty big loss.”
Coincidentally, the fire occurred just minutes after a large blaze erupted at the Garrison Lumber Yard on Brickyard Road.
Upon arrival, firefighters found a large lumber shed on fire with flames and smoke showing.
“It was really roaring when we got there,” Slade said.
The southeast end of the building received heavy fire damage to the point of collapse and the rest of the roof and rafters received moderate to heavy fire damage.
Slade said off-duty personnel on call responded to assist with the two fires. A back-up truck was available to respond to the Orange Avenue fire immediately on call.
“We made a good decision and split our resources,” he said.