Blaze destroys homeon Mount Alban Road

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2002

Belynda Lane, left, is comforted by friend Sharon Green Wednesday as Culkin volunteers fight a fire at Lane’s Mount Alban Road home.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[01/03/02]A Warren County woman lost her home Wednesday afternoon when a fire started while she was taking a bath.

Belynda Lane, 31, 5537 Mount Alban Road, had turned on an electric heater in her bedroom before bathing, she said.

“I heard a pop’ and got out of the bathtub,” Lane said. Lane saw flames and smoke, dressed quickly, grabbed her phone and ran out the front door, dialing 911 and reporting the fire on the way, she said.

“I remembered my dog inside and went back in to get him,” Lane said, holding the dog in the blanket she had wrapped around her shoulders as she watched Culkin volunteers finish their work.

Lane was using the electric heater as a supplement, she said, as the temperature outside dropped toward freezing. She said she had also been having problems with her water heater, too, and was not sure what caused the fire.

Lane’s call to 911 was recorded at 4:29 p.m., and when firefighters arrived minutes later the fire was “going pretty good” in the back corner of the house, Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Worthy said.

At 4:50, smoke was still billowing from windows of the house and firefighters were still breaking upstairs windows and using water from the two pumpers to intermittently spray the attic area.

Worthy estimated that about half of the 61-year-old wood house, which belongs to Lane’s mother, Edith Lane Sims, 62, was structurally damaged by the fire and that practically everything in the house was damaged by smoke or water.

Lane had been living in the house about a year, she said. Her mother, who lives nearby, has kept the house for children and guests. Her mother’s parents, Robert and Annie Wilkinson, had lived in the house, she said.

“All the rooms were solid wood,” Sims said. “There were no hollow walls.”

Friends like Sharon Green began arriving before firefighters had left the scene.

“We’re still checking the attic,” Worthy said after he and the volunteers appeared to have the fire well under control. “We don’t want to walk away yet.”

It was the second residential fire of the year for the Culkin department. They and Northeast volunteers spent most of New Year’s Day battling a blaze at The Landings apartment complex. That fire gutted one building and left 10 families homeless.