Christmas morning at 6:44 a.m. TPFD#1 was alerted to a mobile home fire on Coney Road. Two engines and a tanker truck arrived on scene and witnessed a mobile home with heavy fire damage. When the firemen first responded they noticed an exposure fire (when the existing fire is so bad that any structure close catches on fire) had started. Another mobile home with a porch added on was in close proximity and the vinyl siding had started to melt. Quick action and audacious firefighting prevented a bad situation from becoming worse. The firemen of TPFD#1 worked at an exceptional speed to put the fire out before it caused any more damage.
Roseland Volunteer Fire Department provided automatic aid at the fire station. There were no injuries during this fire either to the occupants or the firemen. The cause of the fire is undetermined but has been unofficially ruled out as suspicious. TPFD#1 cleared the scene at 8:30 a.m.
Then at 2:28 p.m. a call for fire assistance came in that a single family brick structure at 703 South Second Street was on fire. A Debra Thomas was at home when the fire started. When TPFD#1 responded with two engines and one ladder truck, firefighters encountered that the home was under heavy fire conditions. "The fire crew did an excellent job. They went through the front of the home and cut off the fire. There was minimal fire damage to the interior of the home thanks to an aggressive interior attack," stated TPFD#1 Chief Bruce Cutrer.
Due to an on scene injury to Thomas, Acadian Ambulance responded. Roseland responded to the scene and Independence Fire Department provided automatic aid at the fire station. Amite Police Department maintained traffic throughout the situation.
Apparently the fire began when Thomas was trying to remove some teddy bears from her utility room. According to reports, a gas powered hot water heater, a container of kerosene and a propane container were all located in the utility room. When Thomas reached for the teddy bears a container of kerosene was knocked over and was ignited by the pilot light on the water heater. Thomas received second degree burns to her hand from trying to throw the container of kerosene out the door. There was also damage to Thomas' car that was parked under the carport, close to where the fire began.
"TPFD#1 had a busy day Christmas day and that week. Seeing that destruction, I would like to remind the public to be aware and be fire cautious during the holiday season. November through February is generally the busiest time for a fire department. I would like to encourage the public to be safe," stated Chief Cutrer.