Ky. Firefighters Battle Flames as Three Houses Burn

A fire in an empty house on West Second Street quickly spread to two others early Wednesday afternoon.

The houses, in the 1100 block of Second Street, were engulfed with smoke not long after the fire started; it took firefighters about an hour to control.

Owensboro Fire Department Chief Steve Mitchell said the fire call came in at 2:07 p.m. He said the house where the fire began was vacant. Only one house had permanent residents.

Mitchell said the three houses were only 5 feet apart so the flames coming from the attic of the vacant house spread quickly to the houses on each side.

"These are all older homes," Mitchell said. "It didn't take long for it to spread."

"Our first priority was to make sure no one was in the houses," he said. "Then we started working on controlling the fire in the houses that were being lived in."

He said the ladder truck helped control the blaze in the vacant house which was located at 1123 W. 2nd St.

West Second Street was closed from Maple to Plum streets until about 5:34 p.m.

OFD Battalion Chief Steve Leonard said eyewitnesses told him they saw a male and two females run out of the house where the fire originated.

"We believe the fire started in the rear of the middle house," Leonard said. "That's where the most damage is. It then extended to the other houses."

He said the fire is under investigation, and OFD will work in conjunction with the Owensboro Police Department to determine a cause.

Neighbors said the vacant house was unsecured, and they had seen people come and go for the last several months.

Bobby Austin, his sister, Tracey Hamilton, and her daughter, Jaiden Hamilton, lived in the damaged house at 1127 W. 2nd St.

Austin and Hamilton's cat, Jax, remained in the house during the fire. During a walk-through with firefighters, Hamilton found him hiding under a couch.

"Pretty much everything is damaged," Hamilton said. "The upstairs is gone, the kitchen is gone, everything else has smoke or water damage."

The American Red Cross was also on site passing out water to firefighters and providing the family with assistance.

Copyright 2012 - Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service