The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 7, 2012

Fire engulfs home in Owens community

Kim West

— OWENS — A one-story, three-bedroom brick house at 21316 Edgewood Road about three miles north of Athens was engulfed in flames shortly after noon Wednesday as volunteer firefighters from Piney Chapel and Owens battled the blaze amidst gusty winds, and rainy and cold conditions.

Tina Brackley, the house’s owner, was not home when the fire was first reported just after 12 p.m., and no one was reported injured at the scene. Her son Alex was at school.

Family members and a small group of onlookers huddled across the street from the burning home and formed a protective circle around Brackley, who was wrapped snugly in a blanket and watching numbly from a lawn chair.

“I got a call from my mother,” said an emotional Brackley, who has lived in the insured home for 22 years and also has a daughter who no longer lives at home. “There goes 22 years of my life — my kids were born and raised here.”

Rescue Pumper 15 from the Owens Volunteer Fire Department and Engine 23A with the Piney Chapel Volunteer Fire Department had several firefighters on the scene in full turnout gear as they attempted to stop the fire from completely destroying the home.

The fire apparently started in the kitchen and spread quickly to the roof, where flames were shooting out of the east and west ends. As firefighters repeatedly hosed both areas and winds gusted through, the smoke thickened and permeated the surrounding air at least 300 yards down Edgewood Drive.