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Patricia Clark was wrapping Christmas presents on Dec. 11 when she heard her mother scream.
“She was yelling for us to get out of the house,” Clark said.
When the family of eight ran outside, they saw flames shooting from the electric line leading into their two-story frame home.
“My husband tried to use the garden hose and mom threw buckets of water, but it was no use,” Clark said.
Clark said she did manage to rescue eight Malamut puppies from inside the house before the heat, flames and smoke were too much.
The Corinth Fire Department arrived on the scene about 15 to 20 minutes after getting the call for help, Clark said.
Corinth was followed closely by a Williamstown tanker truck, carrying an additional 1,000 gallons of water.
“It wasn’t a manpower problem this time,” Corinth Fire Chief Lonnie Kuhn said. “It was a lack of water.”
Kuhn said the home at 405 Lusby Mill Road sat nearly a mile and a half from the closest fire hydrant, which meant that water had to be shuttled to the scene.
“The other problem was that we were forced to back large tanker trucks down a narrow one lane road about a half mile to even get to the house,” Kuhn said.
Tanker trucks from Jonesville, Crittenden, Dry Ridge, Owen County and an engine company from Scott County were called out to assist in fighting the fire.
“I’m not saying we could have saved the whole house, but I know if we would have had water, it wouldn’t have burned all the way to the ground,” Kuhn said.
For the Clark family, the home and contents are gone.
“We lost everything,” Patricia said. “I’m trying to find a way to rebuild because I don’t want to move away from Grant County.”
The fire, which Kuhn said started in a wood stove, burned hot and fast. Clark said her refrigerator is now about 2 feet tall.
Clark said she purchased the home a month ago and had an appointment on Dec. 14 with an insurance agent to purchase insurance for the home she and her husband share with her mother, their three children and two grandchildren.
The family stayed temporarily in a Dry Ridge motel with help from the Grant County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Patricia said her mother’s church, the Newport Church of God, sent the family money. Clark said they used it to rent a hotel room through the end of the week.
“I don’t know what we’ll do or where we’ll go after that,” she said.
Despite the loss, Clark said she feels lucky.
“If that fire had happened a couple hours later when we were asleep, I’d have lost my mother, daughter and grandchildren,” she said.
Clark said the community has been generous including Grant County Middle School where her 12-year-old attends school.
“Everyone has just been so nice,” she said, choking back tears. “Somehow, someway I’m going to rebuild.”