Ashland Chief Says Wednesday Structure Fire Could Have Been Worse, Asks Public to be Careful During Ongoing Elevated Fire Risk in Region

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 13, 2023 at 5:50pm

No one was injured during a structure fire in a rural Morgan County residence yesterday afternoon. The Ashland Fire Protection District was called for a possible structure fire at 2059 Lair Road at approximately 3:45 pm Wednesday.

Ashland Fire Protection District Chief, Tyler Lathom says there was heavy smoke coming from a part of the structure when units from multiple departments arrived on scene.

With rural structure fires we automatically have mutual aid set up, so Jacksonville and Alexander fire were automatically paged with us. Then we also called for Virginia just for additional water being as far out as we were.

Upon arriving there was heavy smoke coming from the garage. It was pretty well involved with fire on the interior and a little bit of flame was showing from the exterior. Our guys along with Jacksonville made entry and extinguished.

There was a good firewall between the garage and the house so there was no extension of the fire into the house, everything was contained in the garage area. We had the fire extinguished, overhauled, and back in the firehouse within a couple of hours.”

No one was home at the time of the fire. Chief Lathom says the homeowner is currently renovating the property and it was otherwise unoccupied during the course of the work. He says the damage was contained to the attached garage where an area of ignition was found during the initial investigation.

Chief Lathom says it is suspected that the fire may have started due to the combustion of some of the construction material from something such as an oily rag however, no official cause has been determined and it remains under investigation.

The WLDS/WEAI listening area has been under an elevated fire risk due to dry and windy conditions for much of the week. Chief Lathom says the homeowner was lucky that someone saw the smoke and called it in.

The smoke was noticed by a neighbor and that’s what got the initial alarm out. It’s just a good thing for everybody to look out for their neighbors with the conditions that we had yesterday. Things could’ve been a whole lot worse a whole lot quicker.

We’re under the same advisory again today too so, it would be nice for everyone to refrain from outdoor burning until we get a little bit of rain over the weekend. That would help all our causes.”

The National Weather Service in Lincoln continued the elevated fire risk early this morning. Southwesterly winds are expected to gust in excess of 20 miles per hour for much of the region Thursday.

With the gusty winds and dry conditions, the National Weather Service is asking the public to use caution as any fire that ignites will have the capability of spreading rapidly.