Brother gets kids out of housefire
By John Howell
Emergency officials cautioned residents to use extreme caution with heating sources after a Sunday night fire on Ruffin Street in Sardis.
Panola County Sheriff’s Department fire investigator Terry Smith said that the fire started when a child put a combustible item on top of a stove that was being used for home heating. Smith said a family who had moved into the home in July “just couldn’t afford to have the natural gas turned on and were getting by on stove heat.”
Three children, ages 10, 5 and 1, were at home alone when the fire erupted, according to the deputy sheriff. The 10-year-old played a pivotal role in saving his siblings, ushering them to a neighbor’s house. Smith said that the father had left for a brief errand and that the mother was working in Olive Branch.
Sardis Fire Chief Mitchell Daughtery was returning with family from a trip when he saw his department’s trucks out for service and responded as firefighters had extinguished the blaze.
“That little boy did a real good job getting his sisters out of there . A different outcome would have come of it (had he not),” Daughtery said after having a conversation with the children.
Smith said he was called because there had been a similar kitchen fire the night before that had gone unreported until the second fire. The 10-year-old had quickly put out the Saturday fire with a kitchen fire extinguisher.
Smith said that there were no charges from the fires, but that the father was wanted on charges from Louisiana. He was arrested and placed in the Panola County jail.
The Red Cross provided initial shelter and assistance to the family, according to the deputy.