Afternoon fire destroys home - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Afternoon fire destroys home

By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

July 24, 2008

BACONTON, GA (WALB) - A family of five in Baconton is homeless after a small fire quickly turned into a big problem.

Renovation work inside the home sparked the fire.

The family says the fire department could have done more to save the structure.

A warped basketball goal is all the Watts family has left after the fire Wednesday night destroyed their home.

"Accidentally the installer jammed a screw into the panel box and caused a spark and the house caught on fire," said Roland Watts, Fire Victim.

An installer for Lowe's Home Improvement was putting in a counter top, the last phase in a renovation the family was having done on their home.

"Really they didn't bring enough water to start putting the fire out. So I'm just blaming them," said Watts.

There are also claims that fire fighters took in excess of 30 minutes to respond, but we checked with the volunteer department, who responded in 15 minutes.

"Someone is not here at all times, so delayed response on occasions, such as in the afternoon was a contributing factor," said Chief Bobby Beck, Baconton Fire Department.

The first truck that arrived on the scene ran out of water, because the fire had grown.

"I was getting worse and everybody was wondering where are the fire trucks, and I think one of them said there's a station about ten minutes away from here," said Pastor L.B Gardner, Family Friend.

Two other engines arrived when the fire was 3/4 involved. Firefighters started an interior attack but said the way the structure was constructed made fighting it difficult.

"Once you start your interior attack and find out that there was a mobile home surrounded by add-ons and additions, with a separate roof line, makes fire fighting a lot more difficult for the firefighters," said Chief Beck.

"The Car got damaged, the truck got damaged, we lost everything. Just the clothes on our backs that's all we had left," said Watts.

Captain Beck said the volunteer fire department did all they could to try and save the home.

The family did have insurance. Representatives from Lowe's are working with the Watts family to try and take care of the damage.

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