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Fires leave 2 families homeless; destroys summer home on lake

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Three fires in less than a month have left two families homeless and a summer home in ruins.

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The cause of the fires were different – two have been labeled undetermined while the other was determined to be electrical.

Cash Drive – Jan. 6

The Dry Ridge Fire Department received a call about smoke in the area just off Day Road around 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 6 and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a motion detector being activated in the same area.

“It didn’t take long to figure out they were related,” said Rob Ollier, a Dry Ridge firefighter.

Ollier said when the fire department arrived the two-story log home was fully involved with fire.

Because there was only a “small” hydrant near the residence, firefighters were forced to shuttle water in tankers.

“The hydrant was nearby but it wasn’t big enough to supply us with water,” Ollier said.
Ollier said firefighters arriving on the scene first were able to shut off the gas connection to the home, but several small propane tanks on the homes’ deck and in outbuildings fed the fire.

A small explosion inside a garage startled firefighters, causing one to slip and fall, causing minor injuries to his hand.

No one was home at the time of the fire. The home belongs to the Froh family in Ohio who used it as a summer home on Lake Williamstown.

Firefighters were able to save a small outbuilding, a shed and garage, but the house was completely destroyed.

It is believed the fire started in a shed near the house and it has been labeled as “undetermined.”

The home had been victim to several break ins, so the homeowners installed a security alarm with a motion sensor.

“It’s a shame because it was a beautiful home on the lake,” Ollier said.

Mason – Jan. 2

The McClure family of Mason were awakened by a passerby who noticed the flames on the outside of their home on Jan. 2.

The Corinth Fire Department responded to the scene just before 3 a.m. on Jan. 2.

The residence, a two-story frame home, was over 100 years old and construction made the fire difficult to fight, said Corinth Fire Chief Lonnie Kuhn.

Kuhn said the fire was “electrical in nature and started in an interior wall in the kitchen.”

“Our biggest problem was the construction of the home,” Kuhn said. “There was a false floor in the upstairs and the fire got in between there and was hard to put out.”

Kuhn said the fire gutted the upstairs and part of the roof had fallen in by the time his department arrived.

The McClure’s and their three children, lost their belongings to fire or water damage that occurred on the bottom floor.

The Grant County Chapter of the American Red Cross assisted the family with a temporary place to stay and some clothing.

Firefighters from Williamstown, Dry Ridge, Crittenden and Jonesville assisted Corinth, which remained on the scene for about seven hours.

Napoleon-Zion Station Road – Dec. 22

An early afternoon fire of undetermined origin, three days before Christmas, destroyed a the home of James and Anna Smith.

“It was a pretty nasty fire right before Christmas,” James Smith said.

It was the second time the Smiths lost their wordly possessions to fire.

Smith said just after the couple were married and living with his father more than 30 years ago, fire destroyed their home.

The couples’ second fire occurred on Dec. 22.

Firefighters were called to the double-wide home by neighbors who reported fire coming out of it.

Dry Ridge Fire Fighter Rob Ollier said the home was 90 percent destroyed when firefighters arrived.

Response to the fire was delayed when the 911 call went to the Kentucky State Police Post 5 in Campbellsburg, who alerted fire departments in Gallatin County.

Ollier said after actually receiving the call, it took firefighters about 25 minutes to get on the scene.

The Crittenden and Verona fire departments assisted by shuttling water to the scene from the closest hydrant, which was more than two miles away.

No one was home at the time of the fire and for that James Smith is thankful.

“My brother-in-law suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, but was gone to a doctor’s appointment and that was a blessing,” he said.

The addition to Smith and his wife, the couple’s son and two other relatives lived in the home.

The family did lose two pets – a dog and a cat.

Smith said the family had found a place to rent and hoped to rebuild eventually.

The only thing he managed to save was a charred Bible and a few photos.

“The edge of the pages were burned but you can still read it,” Smith said.

Smith said the family was helped by Vine Run Baptist Church, as well as friends and neighbors.

“It’s amazed me how nice people have been,” he said. “I just hope there’s no third fire because I don’t want to go through this again.”

The Smiths were also assisted by the Grant County Chamber of the American Red Cross with temporary lodging and clothing.