Mobile Home Fire

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 6, 2009

Firefighters told child trapped in blazing mobile home

By Billy Davis

Panola County firefighters beat back a mobile home fire, then combed through the smoldering remains, in search of a child that was never in the home.

“Nobody was aggravated when we found out. We were just relieved,” said Daniel Cole, director of Panola County Emergency Management.

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Firefighters from Pope, Courtland and Batesville responded to the mobile home fire on Highway 35 South at approximately 6 p.m. Thursday. About two hours later, the tense scene melted away when the child’s father brought the youngster, a 10-year-old girl, to the fire scene.

“Daniel talked to the father on the phone and told him to bring the child to the scene,” recalled Courtland Assistant Chief Butch Jaudon.

The father had apparently picked up the child without telling the grandparents, who lived in the home, firefighters said. 

Firefighters were told the child was likely located in a bedroom on the north side of the home.

Jaudon said he was the second responder on the scene behind Pope Fire Chief John McCollum. The child’s grandparents and neighbors gave conflicting stories about who was trapped inside the home, according to the assistant chief.

“It went from a 10-year-old to an infant, and then to two kids,” Jaudon said.

“Fire was coming out of all four corners of the trailer,” he added. “We were trying to knock it down as fast as we could.”

Mobile home fires are notorious for their quick destruction of the structure.

Panola County recorded nine fire deaths in 2007, a statistic that led the state. One fire death was reported in 2008, and one person has died so far this year.

Cole said the 2007 death, and the single death so far this year, were caused when the victim was burned by a heater in the home.