Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Friends and family of Irby Jean Lee (seated) rushed around her Monday morning following her escape with her family from the fire that consumed their home on Highway 51, just south of Batesville city limits. No one was injured. Lee’s granddaughter rushed through the house shouting about fire in their living room. Firefighters and tankers from four departments extinguished the stubborn fire, but the home and its contents were lost. The Panolian photo by John Howell

Monday fire destroys family’s home

By John Howell
A family of six lost their home and belongings to fire Monday morning, but there were no injuries, family matriarch Irby Jean Lee said.
Lee was surrounded by family and friends as firefighters worked through the structure’s walls in an attempt to suppress the stubborn blaze that had destroyed it.
“It was my little eight-year-old grandbaby that came through the house yelling that the living room was on fire,” Lee told the women who had placed her in a chair and spread over her shoulders a coat to shield her from the chilly wind.
Firefighters from Courtland, Pope, Bynum and Batesville used long-handled hooks to pull at debris, exposing more flame each time which they then hosed down. The firefighters were continuously supplied with water they brought with them in large tankers.
The home at 11887B Highway 51, Courtland, is located just south of Batesville city limits and attracted a large crowd of onlookers from the busy highway. Deputies from the Panola County Sheriff’s Department provided traffic control, alternating north/south traffic through the northbound lane while fire equipment occupied the southbound lane.
The home was heated with electricity. There was a Christmas tree in the living room where the fire started, according to Kimberly Ellis, Lee’s daughter, who was among the six people at the home when the fire started.
Batesville Fire Department Fire Prevention Officer James Snyder, who serves as liaison for the American Red Cross for disaster assistance, said that family are provided immediate ARC relief, “just to get them started back on their feet.”
The assistance includes three days’ lodging and money for food and to replace clothing.
Kimberly Ellis provided information about family members’ clothing sizes as follows:
Adult female: Size 8.5 shoes, size 16 pants, size large shirt;
Adult female: Size 8.5 shoes, size 9 pants, size medium shirt;
Adult male, Size 12 shoes, size 46 pants, size 3X shirt;
13-year-old boy: size 7 shoes, size 14 pants, size large shirt;
11-year-old boy: size 6 shoes, size 12 pants, size large shirt;
8-year-old girl: size 1 shoes, size 8 pants, size 8 shirt.
Anyone seeking additional information about family needs following the fire can contact Ellis at 662-609-8388.

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