Close Call at House Fire (them, not me)

If you happen to see me around town and I seem to be in pain, it's because I fell backward onto my air pack while trying to pull a meter at a house fire early Wednesday morning. Just a ground level fall, but when you're falling onto that air tank and its harness, in a kind of twisty sideways/backward motion, it tends to jar and/or twist about every part of your body. On the brighter side, I felt fine until later in the day. Maybe not "fine".

I was using something called a TNT Tool to pull the lock off the electric meter, so we could shut power off to the house; you're be surprised how unpleasant it is to contact a live power line, with all the insulation burned off, while pulling a ceiling with a metal tipped pole or spraying water around. When the lock broke free it threw me off balance, and those TNT tools are
heavy. Thus, the embarrassing falling. I have no idea if anyone witnessed it. I'm also not sure if anyone saw me try to force the side door, but I kind of hope not, as it turned out there was heavy furniture behind it and I couldn't get the thing open. The window smashed out very nicely though, and the guys told me later that helped the ventilation process nicely.

At no time did a roof fall on my head. (A little
Storm Chaser inside joke, there.)


     An Albion area couple barely escaped a fire that swept through their Upper Long Lake home early Wednesday, June 23.

     Susan and Gary Tackett were both sleeping when flames began to spread through their residence at 0371 N Oakwood Drive, according to the Albion Fire Department. Susan Tackett awakened to discover heavy smoke filling the building and woke her husband; after they got out she reportedly went back in to try and retrieve a family dog, but was trapped in a bedroom by the spreading flames and blinding smoke. Gary Tackett assisted her through a window before emergency units arrived.

     Susan was treated for a minor leg injury, but otherwise the two escaped unharmed.

     A neighbor reported the fire at 1:10 a.m. Albion and Noble Township firefighters arrived to find the living area of the one story wood frame home engulfed in flames, with fire already coming through a burned-out roof. It took about half an hour to bring the blaze under control, while Cromwell and Ligonier fire units provided standby coverage at the Albion Fire Station.

     Although firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading into the home's bedrooms, an estimated $100,000 damage was done to the building and its contents. Red Cross personnel were brought in to assist the Tackett's with their loss, and a company that helps secure fire damaged buildings was also on the scene.

     The cause of the fire is undetermined and remains under investigation, but is believed to be accidental.

     No injuries were reported among the firefighters, who remained on the scene until about 4 a.m. A Noble County EMS crew stood by as a precaution, and Noble County Sheriff's Department personnel also responded to the call. Noble REMC crews cut power to the residence, and Noble Township Auxiliary Members also helped at the scene.

     A total of 11 Albion and Noble Township fire units responded to the fire; 19 Albion firefighters manned their trucks.