Explosion consumes house

Published 12:14 am Monday, April 3, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
The cause of an East Oak Street house fire has been linked to an overcharged lawn mower, Alabama Fire Marshal Mike Talley determined.
Thursday, Talley and Atmore Fire &Rescue Department chief Gerry McGhee sifted through the remains of Atmore resident Richard Everette's home, which burned to the ground early Wednesday morning.
"He had told us that he had left a battery charger on a lawn mower and we checked it out and determined that the cause of the fire started around the lawn mower," McGhee said. "It could have been the battery charger being plugged up so long or the battery itself."
After several hours of investigating, the cause of the fire was narrowed down to the lawn mower being charged too long, which caused either the battery charger or battery to ignite.
The fire broke out around 12:59 a.m. Wednesday morning and quickly engulfed the wood-framed structure. Two fire engines, a rescue unit and nine firemen, including several volunteers, responded to the smoldering blaze.
"When we arrived on the scene, the home was totally involved," McGhee said.
Atmore Police Department and Kelley's Ambulance personnel also assisted during the fire after dispatchers stated that there was a possibility of two children inside the home.
"I would like to thank the police department for their assistance and Kelley's Ambulance," McGhee said.
Upon arrival, police officers discovered that all occupants of the home had made it to safety. No injuries were reported.
The sweltering heat of the fire and the flames caused several explosions while firefighters attempted to contain it. McGhee said Everette had several explosive items inside the home that went off when heated up.
"He had some bullets and paint cans in the back of the garage and the heat and fire caused them to go off causing multiple explosions," McGhee said.
McGhee encourages homeowners to closely monitor battery chargers or any other devices that require being plugged in for lengthy amounts of time.
"We advice people not to go to bed leaving things plugged up after a long period of time especially if they are planning on leaving home," he said.
As for his firefighters, McGhee believes they did a superb job.
"They did a good job and I would like to thank all of our volunteers for giving up their time and coming to help us," he said.
The home was a total loss. No injuries were reported.

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