Fire destroys Anderson Co. home, crews grapple with frigid temps

Fire destroys Anderson Co. home, crews grapple with frigid temperatures

Posted:
The home, which is located on the 110 block of Tobby Hollow Lane, went up in flames around 4 a.m. The home, which is located on the 110 block of Tobby Hollow Lane, went up in flames around 4 a.m.
Claxton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Donnie Shipley says the cold weather, hovering just a few degrees above zero, made fighting the fire extremely difficult. Claxton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Donnie Shipley says the cold weather, hovering just a few degrees above zero, made fighting the fire extremely difficult.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

CLAXTON (WATE) - An Anderson County family lost their home to a fire early Tuesday morning.

The Claxton Volunteer Fire Department says it happened in the 100 block of Tobby Hollow Lane just before 4 a.m., when temperatures were at their very coldest across the area.

That deep freeze weather meant major issues for crews trying to put the fire out.

When firefighters arrived on scene in the frigid, early morning hours, they say 75 percent of the home was already engulfed in flames.

It took fire crews three hours to put the fire out.

While the home is considered a total loss, the couple that lived there made it out safely.

A neighbor tells 6 News the couple's adult son lives next door to them.

Woken up by his dog, he ran to his parent's house and helped them get out in time.

Claxton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Donnie Shipley says the cold weather, hovering just a few degrees above zero, made fighting the fire extremely difficult.

"Things that we're not used to having to deal with. In these temperatures, everything was freezing instantly," said Shipley.

Everything on their trucks was frozen solid, from the hoses to the firefighters themselves.

"Frozen valves. Frozen equipment. The guys just aren't used to working in these temperatures at all," said Shipley.

Until they got those valves unfrozen, they were unable to pump water from a nearby fire hydrant into their trucks.

Once they were finally able to get the water, single digit temperatures made actually spraying it another major problem.

"Even when we were spraying the water, the water was freezing in midair," said Shipley.

So all morning long, they were fighting not only the fire, but the deep freeze conditions.

"Nozzles were freezing up as we were trying to use them. We'd have to shut down and try to clear the nozzles as best we could," said Shipley. "I used to think working in the heat was really bad. We'd take the heat over this anytime."

Shipley says it's too soon to determine a cause of the fire.

Water from fighting the fire spilled onto Tobby Hollow Lane and froze.

Anderson County Highway Department salt trucks spread salt on the street to help melt it away.

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