July 22, 2013

Quick response doesn’t save structure

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer


Frank Wilkerson, assistant principal at North Laurel Middle School, was working on distributing student schedules around 11 a.m. Thursday when his pager went off.

A volunteer firefighter with the Colony Fire Department, Wilkerson informed Principal Steve Morris he was taking his lunch break early and was en route to a mobile home fire on Lem Bruner Road, just off Pine Top Road in the Swiss Colony community.

“The page went out at 11:03 a.m. and we were here at 11:06 a.m.,” Wilkerson said. “We found the trailer just as you see it now, with the roof collapsed on the ground.”

Earnie Hampton, also a volunteer firefighter with the Colony Department, was one reason for the quick response. Hampton lives across from the Swiss Colony Volunteer Fire Department’s Station 2, near the intersection of Mitchell Creek Road and Pine Top Road. Hampton responded to the page, driving the department’s tanker truck to the scene, less than a mile from his home and the fire station.

While the flames still raged on, firefighters carefully sprayed the tall grass surrounding the unoccupied mobile home to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby homes. Another mobile home directly across from the burned trailer was a concern for firefighters, due to the heat from the fire.

Randall Bruner, whose family owns the property near the area, was bush hogging in the area when the fire started. Sitting on his tractor with the bush hog still attached, Bruner watched the firefighters in action as they tried to protect the adjoining properties. He said the mobile home had no electric or water hooked up. 

The cause of the fire was not determined.