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Home ravaged by fire; two cars destroyed

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Firefighter injured fighting blaze

By Lisa King

A residence off Harrington Mill Road was completely destroyed and a Shelby County firefighter was injured during an early morning fire last Friday.

by fire last week, leaving the family without either a home or a car, according to

Shelby County Fire Chief Bobby Cowherd said at about 9 a.m. a neighbor noticed smoke pouring out from under the eaves at 279 Mill Circle, the home of James Allis and his family, who were not home at the time.

The neighbor called 911, but when firefighters arrived, the single-story brick home was already engulfed in flames.

“It had apparently been burning for at least an hour before we arrived and was fully involved when we got there,” Cowherd said.

The house was leveled, and both the family's vehicles were destroyed in the process.

“They lost everything, even their two cars in the garage,” he said. “We were able to retrieve a few of their photographs and that was all.”

Firefighter James Lighthouse was injured while fighting the blaze, Cowherd said.

“He slipped on the ice-covered driveway, and hurt his ankle,” Cowherd said. “The ice had melted off the ground, but there was still a lot on sidewalks and driveways. But he has been taking it easy and expects to come back to work soon.”

The home was located in a subdivision that contains only a few hydrants, he added, but firefighters were aware of that situation took along enough water to put out the fire.

“It was never a question of not having enough water,” he said.

Cowherd added that many subdivisions exist in Shelby County that don't have adequate fire hydrants, but firefighters know which subdivisions don't have enough hydrants and take along water on tanker trucks when necessary.

At Friday's fire, the fire was simply too far along to save the home, he said.

An official cause has not been determined for the blaze, but Cowherd said it is suspected that a defect in the wiring of the home's furnace is to blame.

“We know that the fire stared at ground level or in the basement, and we think it was in the furnace,” he said.

American Red Cross officials have met with the family to make sure they were housed right after the blaze.

“We met their immediate needs,” said Vickie Ledford with the American Red Cross in Shelbyville.

Shelbyville Fire Department was on standby while 24 county fire fighters and seven trucks battled the blaze on Mill Circle. Assistant fire chief Troy Ethington said city firefighters responded to a few medical runs for the county while they were fighting the blaze.

“We had a couple of transports, nothing major,” he said. “This type of thing is routine procedure to make sure that the entire county if is covered if an emergency should come up while a fire department is on a call.”