***UPDATED at 4:57 P.M. on Wednesday, June 12th***
It took fire only a few minutes to destroy memories made in this house over the span of 45 years. The homeowner's son, Bruce Hankinson, says “my mother has had it since like 1968 or 1969. She raised my sister and I in this. So, a lot of memories.”
Neighbors spotted the flames pouring out of the roof. Meanwhile, plumes of dark smoke could be seen streaming to the sky from miles away. Within minutes, crews were on the scene battling intense blaze that quickly spread despite their exhaustive efforts.
“At our arrival, the roof had about 3/4 of it visible through the roof. So, it had a substantial advance on us getting here,” explains Battalion Chief Steven Bell, of the Augusta Fire Department.
Soon after arriving, the intense heat from the flames and rising outside temperatures, paired with heavy protective clothing, proved to be more than one firefighter could handle. He was treated for exhaustion as a precaution. “Protective clothing can become your enemy. So, you've got to have your people out and have them in rehab so they can get their hydration back,” says Battalion Chief Bell.
While firefighters were able to protect each other, the flames were no match for their efforts. The fire took the family's home, but fortunately spared the homeowner's life. “That was just a blessing from God that she's safe and nobody was injured. So, at this point, that matters more than anything else,” Hankinson sighed.
Investigators are still working to determine what sparked the flames.
***POSTED at 1:37 P.M. on Wednesday, June 12th***
We are covering breaking news concerning a fire in Augusta.
A building is on fire On Kelly Street, near Highland Avenue.
Details are limited, at this time.
We have a crew on the scene and we will provide more information as it becomes available.