Fire destroys two Grady County homes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fire destroys two Grady County homes

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

January 19, 2009

GRADY COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Fire destroyed two homes in Grady County early Monday morning.

The first one was in Whigham around four. The other just outside of Cairo around five. No one was hurt, but now ten people are left with no where to live and only the clothes on their backs.

Sadly, fire officials say the fires could have likely been avoided. They think one of the fires started in the chimney. The other from a stove left on all night to keep the family warm.

When 56-year-old Benjamin Perry went to sleep last night, not even in his worst nightmare did he dream he would wake up to this.

"That was the scariest feeling I've ever had in my life," said Perry.

Mr. Perry woke up to to smoke and flames. He made it out, but then realized his 80-year-old roommate, who he calls a father figure, was still trapped inside.

"Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do," he said.

Without hesitation Mr. Perry put his own life on the line, ran back inside, and saved his friend. But now this hero is left without clothes and without a home.

"Everything is gone except what I got on my back," he said.

But the firey night wasn't over yet. Only an hour later another home went up in flames in Grady County.

"We lost everything," said Ty Shine.

Shine, his wife, and six kids were sleeping in their trailor when the fire started. The family managed to get out but three of their puppies died. Still this family is counting their blessings.

"It's a blessing that all of us are here to talk about it," said Shine.

Sadly fire officials say both fires could likely have been prevented. They think Mr. Perry's fire started at the fire place, one that hadn't been cleaned out in years.

"You have to maintain a fireplace. Keep it clean all the way up to the roof. Because what happens is it builds up in there and that's what will start the fire," said Whigham Fire Chief Scott Newberry.

Mr. Shine's fire may have started from a stove they left on to keep warm. They also had space heaters going all night.

Two hazards that if avoided could have prevented near deadly fires.

"We hope everyone keeps us in their prayers," said the Shine family.

A sad loss for many, but hopefully a harsh reminder for everyone to stay safe during the cold nights this winter. Feedback