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Fire destroys Atmore home

A fire destroyed a historic two-story home on South Main Street in Atmore on Sunday morning.

Atmore Fire Chief Ronald Peebles said the home located at 311 South Main Street was a total loss.

“I’m very proud of my firefighters,” Peebles said. “They gave it 110 percent. They didn’t back down.”

Peebles said the AFD received the call about the fire at 6:37 a.m. on Sunday, and by the time first responders arrived, the family that was inside had already evacuated.

Peebles said the main fire damage concentrated on the upstairs portion of the house.

Peebles said the state fire marshals are investigating the cause of the blaze.

“He hasn’t gotten back with me on that decision,” Peebles said. “The top was burnt more than the bottom. A room in the bottom on the back south corner was burnt up pretty bad.

“The main fire damage was upstairs,” he said. “There was a lot of water damage downstairs, naturally.”

Peebles said the AFD had to penetrate the home’s tin roof to get water into the house from above with a ladder truck. He added that the ladder truck helped save the two houses on either side of the historic home.

“That’s the best thing the city has ever bought,” Peebles said about the ladder truck. “With the two adjacent houses, we could cool them from up top, and keep those two adjacent houses from catching fire. There was a lot of heat coming off of the house.”

At one point, Peebles said he noticed that the roof was about to give and called everybody out of harm’s way.

About two hours after fire officials arrived on scene, a dog was rescued from the home.

Peebles said the AFD drew a six-inch line all the way from Pensacola Avenue to help with the effort. There were four attack lines coming off of one engine, and two from the ladder truck.

“We sucked down some water,” he said. “We probably went through 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of water.

“I gotta give the water system credit; it held us,” he said. “That’s a lot of water to be sucked out of the ground.”

In addition to the AFD, the Poarch Fire Department, Walnut Hill (Fla.) Fire Department, Wawbeek (Fla.) Fire Department and Flomaton Fire Department provided mutual aid.

“They did an excellent job, too,” Peebles said about the other fire departments.

The house was located right across the street from First Baptist Church, and Atmore Ambulance set up a rehab center for firefighters who needed aid during the effort.

“They set up a rehab center for us, and took care of everything as far as my rehab went,” Peebles said. “They did an excellent job for us. First Baptist Church opened up their fellowship hall for us, and opened up their ice machine. I want to thank them. We had their front yard full right at church time.”

To allow the firefighters to battle the fire, the Atmore Police Department blocked off South Main from the intersection of Owens Street to Craig Street.

Mayor Jim Staff said he was amazed at the effort put forth by the different agencies that helped.

“It’s amazing the cooperation we had,” Staff said. “They called out Flomaton and they came; they called Poarch and they came; and they called out Walnut Hill and they came. One of the police officers that was working is a retired firefighter. He was running the pump truck.

“It was amazing the cooperation,” he said.

Peebles said firefighters cleared the scene at 1 p.m.