Fire engulfs Atmore family's 'home place'

Published 2:04 am Wednesday, May 10, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
An Atmore family is homeless following an early afternoon fire that destroyed their wooden home place. Firefighters responded to a call from a neighbor at 1:50 p.m. to 56 May Street in Atmore.
""When we arrived on the scene we found a totally involved house fire," Atmore Fire and Rescue Department Chief Gerry McGhee said. "We had nine firemen on the scene and called in help from Poarch and Walnut Hill Fire departments as well. In a situation like that when it is so hot, it is important to have the available man power to relieve each other in case they become too hot or suffer heat exhaustion."
According to a neighbor, Rosie Jones, the fire appeared to start in the back of the house.
"A couple of our neighbors (men) tried to get in the back of the house when we first saw it," Jones said. "But the flames and the smoke were just too thick. They couldn't get through.
The fire, which is thought to have originated in the ceiling of a back room, quickly spread through the wooden structure that dates back more than 80 years, causing a thick, dark plume of smoke to pour from underneath the metal roof.
"The owner said she plugged a washer up and it tripped the breaker box, so she unplugged it," McGhee said. "It looks as if the fire started from some sort of electrical problem."
The owner of the house, James and Jeddie Gee were not at home at the time of the blaze. Jeddie had just left home about 20 minutes prior to the incident.
"I was taking my daughter to the doctor in Bay Minette," Gee said. "We had just left the house and everything seemed to be normal and OK I had just made it into Nokomis when I got the phone call about the fire."
Firemen on the scene hooked up to a fire hydrant on the corner of Ann and Patterson Street to fight the blaze. According to McGhee, an attack was made from the roof and the inside of the house in an effort to contain the fire.
"We are trying to find something to rent until we can get ourselves pulled together and clean the house off the land and put something else on it."

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