‘Flaming’ fowl feces causes fire

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Laura Webster sat on a white wooden kitchen chair across the road from her Corinth home.


She watched firefighters from Corinth, Williamstown and Dry Ridge, climb the roof and peel back the blackened tin roof to shoot streams of water inside.

Williamstown Fire Chief Les Whalen ran in and out of the frame home grabbing personal items, including a motorized wheelchair, a metal cane and family photos, laying them on the grass in Webster’s front yard.

He gingerly carried a pair of metal-framed eye glasses and a medication dispenser and handed them to Webster, as she continued to sit quietly and watch the firefighters’ progress.

The fire, which broke out around 2:15 p.m. on April 18, was contained to the home’s living room and attic.

Webster and her daughter, Barb Begley and brother, Doug Webster, were home at the time.

Begley said Doug said he smelled smoke. Begley said they went outside and noticed smoke by the roof.

They quickly ran back inside and got Laura to safety.

“By then, the smoke was pouring out of the end of the house,” Begley said.

Webster has lived in the home on Old Depot Lane for about eight years.

Her brother moved in with her in January following a fire in his apartment.

The home is owned by Billy Ratcliff.

Begley said her mother did not have renter’s insurance but would stay with family in the area.

“I just hope the damage isn’t too bad,” she said.

Corinth Fire Chief Lonnie Kuhn said the fire is believed to have started when a bird dropped a cigarette butt or by decomposition of a bird nest or bird droppings.

“The state fire marshal ruled out electrical and those were the only things they could really come up with,” Kuhn said.

Firefighters were on scene for about four and a half hours.

Kuhn estimated the damage at $10,000.

He said firefighting efforts were hampered initially by the lack of manpower, at least until the other departments arrived.

“It was a wonderful job between all three departments for a save of this house,” Kuhn said.