Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 13, 2012

House burns in county

Fully involved fire destroys home

VALDOSTA — A residence in the 3400 block of McDougal Lane in Lowndes County burned to the ground Wednesday morning.

Zephenia Rocha, a neighbor to the family whose house burned, called 911 at 9:56 a.m., she said on-scene. The fire was reported to be fully engulfed in flames, according to Lowndes County Clerk Paige Dukes.

Lowndes County Fire and Rescue was dispatched at 9:57 a.m., according to Dukes. The available apparatus was out of territory due to pump-testing responsibilities, Duke said.

The Lowndes County fire marshal was the first on the scene for fire rescue at 10:10 a.m., according to Chief Richard Guyton. Initial reports indicate that the first trucks arrived at 10:12 a.m., followed by Engine 10 shortly after, and Engine 34 arrived at 10:19 a.m., Guyton stated.

However, the Valdosta Daily Times on-scene reporter arrived at 10:13 a.m. Photo time stamps of the incident indicate the first truck didn't arrive until 10:20 a.m.

When the fire first started, neighbors Daniela and Leonel Alcantara made efforts to stop it, Daniela Alcantara told The Times. They called 911 as well, but someone else had called earlier, said Alcantara, who was unsure of the identity of the first caller.

“It was just in the kitchen area in the front left-hand corner of the house,” Alcantara said. “We went around trying to find a hose and stuff, but it had spread to the living room.”

Seeing a car in the driveway, the Alcantaras worried there was someone home at risk of being injured in the fire. Leonel Alcantara went around to a bedroom window. When he saw a lump in the bed inside, he broke the window and went in, Daniela Alcantara said.

“He pulled the blankets off the bed, but she wasn’t there,” Alcantara said. “We just did what anybody else would do.”

The house’s two residents were notified and arrived on the scene later. They had both been at work.

The South Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross is providing services to the residents. Volunteers Janet Bell and Hanna Carroll responded to the scene when Red Cross was notified and their services requested, Executive Director Terri Jenkins said.

The fire completely destroyed the house, which was a total loss, Jenkins said.

Red Cross offered the victims food and clothing, Jenkins said. The victims accepted the food assistance, but opted to stay with a family member.

The fire's cause remains under investigation.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

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