Year starts off busy for fire department

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The new year started off with a bang, or rather a blaze, for Reelsville Volunteer Fire Department after working two fires just days apart from the each other.

According to Fire Chief John McPherson, Reelsville volunteers were originally toned out to assist Clay County fire departments with a structure fire Thursday afternoon. But firefighters later learned the fire was actually in their area and it really was not a structure fire.

McPherson said that dispatchers in Clay County received the initial call for a structure fire in Jackson Township Fire Department's area. But once Jackson Township figured out the fire was not in their area, rather across the county line, they had Reelsville toned out.

Upon Reelsville firefighters arrival to the home just south of the intersection of County Road 900 West and 1100 South, they found only a grass fire close to a structure.

McPherson said the cause of the fire was determined to be a light switch had overheated and ignited a large wood pile. The fire then spread to a plastic fence and the grass nearby.

Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to a nearby storage shed.

McPherson said that the damages were estimated at $150-$200. Reelsville was assisted on the scene by Jackson, Center Point and VanBuren township departments from Clay County.

Reelsville's next fire occurred Friday morning. At 7:50 a.m., Putnam County Dispatch dropped a MABAS box alarm in Washington Township for possible structure fire.

McPherson said that dispatch later informed them it was a confirmed chimney fire in the walls.

Upon firefighters arrival, the fire had been extinguished by the homeowner. The homeowner used a total of three fire extinguishers before the fire was completely out. McPherson said the homeowner used some common sense and saved his home.

Firefighters investigated the scene and determined the fire was out and that there were no extensions in the walls. McPherson said they advised the homeowner to have his chimney cleaned before using it.

"People with fireplaces really need to have their chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional once a year," McPherson said.

Greencastle, Cloverdale Township and Madison Township were dispatched to assist Reelsville, but were later disregarded.

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