The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


January 13, 2014

FANNING THE FLAMES: Wind-fueled blaze on Bethel Road takes hours to extinguish

TONEY — Firefighters from at least three county departments battled a large blaze whipped by high winds Monday at a home on Bethel Road in the Oak Grove-Thach community.

The fire, which was reported at approximately 12:30 p.m. Monday, destroyed the single-story brick home at 29731 Bethel Road, near Old School House Road.

James Thoni rents the 3.4-acre property, owned by Mickey Fowler of Fowler Auction and Real Estate Service in Toney. Thoni and another adult living at the residence were not home at the time. Two small dogs were inside the home at the time of the fire, according Oak Grove-Thach Assistant Chief Bobby Winton.

He was unsure if the two pets escaped, adding firefighters had not been able to enter the residence as of Monday evening.

Multiple engines and tankers from Oak Grove-Thach, Ardmore and Elkmont fire departments responded to douse the “fully involved” fire. High winds played a major role in keeping the fire going, according to officials.

“Winds are always a factor,” Winton said.

Emergency officials at the scene said “the fire was under control” at 1:45 p.m., with Oak Grove-Thach firefighters working to control hot spots until about 4:15 p.m. Monday.

Firefighters called the Red Cross to assist the Thoni family and were on the scene Monday evening, according to Winton.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. It is believed to have started in the garage, Winton said.

—News Courier reporter Kim West contributed to this report.

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