Sumter County fire damage -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sumter County fire damage

May 17, 2005

Sumter County--  What started out as a peaceful night on Lake Blackshear suddenly turned into chaos. "It got pretty scary, it was a scary night," says resident Ken Johnson.

Around ten Monday night, Johnson was asleep when his wife heard a strange noise. "She jumped up looked outside and the flames were coming out from under the carport. There were some jet skis under there and they were burning pretty good," says Johnson.

Their neighbor's lakeside home was on fire. Johnson quickly ran outside with his waterhose as his wife called 911. "By the time I got there, the gas tanks or something exploded on them things and it was so hot, I couldn't even get to it with the water," says Johnson.

About fifteen minutes later, the carport and everything else caved in. The fire rose and burned the surrounding trees and threatened to burn the neighboring homes. "I was very concerned. It was so hot that you couldn't even stand over there close to my house and it was pretty nerve wrecking," says Johnson.

Firefighters from all over Sumter County responded to the blaze but the fire was too intense to save the home. One fire engine never made it to the scene. "With the amount of water the driver had on the truck and everything, he lost control and the truck overturned," says Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith.

Joseph Wesley Gregory of the Southwest Volunteer Fire Company was going around a curve when he lost control on Highway 49. He suffered lacerations, bruises and a slight concussion. Officials are thankful it wasn't too serious.

"We're just so thankful that Joseph's not hurt and just so proud that a lot of volunteers are out there doing an excellent job and they're not getting paid for it," says Smith. And residents of Lake Blackshear are thankful for them as well.

"It's a wake up call and it really makes you appreciate your volunteer firefighters and stuff because without them, there's no telling what else would have burned up," says Johnson.

No one was injured in the fire. Neighbors say it's a weekend home. Gregory was treated and released from Americus Sumter County Hospital.





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