Fires destroy residences, claim one life

Smoke and flames rise out of a residence on Roberts Road in West Crossett on Feb. 12. While one person escaped the fire, one also died. A separate fire on West Ninth Avenue in Crossett destroyed a residence but did not result in injuries. (STAFF PHOTO/News Observer)


Two residences were destroyed and one life lost in separate fire incidents in Crossett in the last week.

The first fire, which resulted in the fatality, was in the 1600 area of Roberts Road in West Crossett on Friday, Feb. 12.

Crossett Fire Chief Bo Higginbotham said the fire department was dispatched to the blaze at 9:33 a.m. and arrived at 9:38 a.m. By the time Crossett Fire was on the scene, the fire was fully involved in the structure. The West Crossett Fire Department and the Unity-Frost Prairie Fire Department were also on the scene.

The owner of the residence was sleeping inside at the time, and two neighbors woke him up by banging on an air conditioning unit, Higginbotham said.

“They pulled him out the window,” he said.

After the resident was rescued, he informed the responders on the scene that another person was sleeping inside, Higginbotham said, but at that time the fire was too involved to enter the house.

“After we got (the fire) knocked down and got it where we could search, we found a fatality,” he said.

Officials did not publicly identify the victim.

Crossett Fire turned the scene over to the West Crossett Fire Department at 12:56 p.m.

The second fire was on the 700 block of West Ninth Avenue.

Crossett Fire received the call at 9:55 p.m. Saturday, and worked the scene until 2:05 a.m. Sunday morning.

“It was fully involved, extending into the attic; the fire extended itself through the roof,” Higginbotham said.

While the residence appeared to be occupied, the fire chief said responders were able to make contact with the property owner and no one was inside at the time of the blaze.

Both fires and how they started are still under investigation, Higginbotham said.

While both of the fires were before the major weather events of the weekend, outbreaks of house fires often coincide with extreme cold weather because more people are using space heaters and fireplaces. The U.S. Fire Administration says that of the four seasons, winter is the one when more residential fires occur.

Safety procedures to implement during the cold weather include:

4Plugging only one heat-producing appliance into an electrical outlet at a time.

4Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a heat source.

4Never use an oven or stovetop to heat a home.

4Store cooled fireplace ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from buildings.

4Clear outside furnace, stove, fireplace and gas dryer vents of snow and other debris to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 

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