Sunday, February 18, 2018

Harleton resident thankful for quick response, looks to rebuild after fire

By Bridget Ortigo
March 9, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Harleton resident Missy Blackburn's home is pictured burned on Tuesday after a structure fire on March 1.

HARLETON - Harleton resident Missy Blackburn said on Tuesday she was counting her blessings after community members stepped up to help her out following a house fire last week.

Blackburn also credited the Harleton volunteer firefighters for their quick response and action to put out the fire.

"This really could have been so much worse," Blackburn said Tuesday while looking over the charred remains of her home. "I'm so grateful no one was hurt and that the firemen got here as fast as they did."

Despite losing most all of her belongings in the fire, as well as her home, Blackburn said she was in good spirits.

"I had someone the very next day, donate a three-bedroom, two-bathroom trailer home to us," she said. "I just need someone to move it to my family's land for me, about five blocks from where it is now. I don't have anyone to move it and I don't really have the money to hire anyone to move it."

This is the second time in her life Blackburn said she has survived a house fire, the first a couple of decades ago due to an electrical malfunction.

The cause of the March 1 fire is still under investigation, Harrison County Fire Marshal Thomas Mock said Tuesday.

Five engines responded to the fire, along with 14 firemen, Harleton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Harper said.

Blackburn, along with her son and daughter-in-law, were all asleep inside the apartment when the fire started.

"We heard a loud popping noise and then felt a rattle," she said. "I opened the door and looked out and saw the fire on the boat shed and the storage room and I yelled for everyone to get out of the house."

Blackburn did not yet have insurance on the home and said she had just moved in two days before the fire.

She said she was amazed at the fire department's quick response and work to put the flames out.

"They were wonderful," she said. "They really deserve all of the credit."

The fire was contained within seven minutes and extinguished in 22 minutes.

Blackburn said community members have shown her an "outpouring of love and support" since the fire.

"We've been given clothes and furniture and a house," she said. "I'm not accepting money because we all have jobs and we work but it would be wonderful if we could find someone to help us move the trailer onto our land."

Blackburn said the only items still needed are basic toiletries and men's pants sizes 34-36.

Anyone who can help is asked to contact Blackburn at (903) 452-1105.



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