~ Press release submitted by Stanley Fire Department
STANLEY, Jan. 22 — On Sunday at 11:23 p.m., the Stanley Fire Department was called for a structure fire involving a house located at 519 Lucas Hollow Road, which sits about three miles south of Stanley. While en route to the call, the Page County Emergency Communication Center advised that two occupants were possibility trapped inside the house by the fire.
Fire Chief Terry A. Pettit arrived on the scene at 11:33 p.m. and reported that a car adjacent to the house and the back porch were on fire and quickly spreading into the house. Chief Pettit also reported that two occupants were trapped inside the house.
Three Page County Sheriff’s Office deputies — Zach Tiller, Frank Stillson and Marcus Debellaistre — were already on the scene and attempting to gain entry to the house, but they were hampered by be fact the front door and all windows were boarded up or nailed shut.
Chief Pettit attempted to gain entry through the back porch, but he was unable to do so due to the fire. The occupants were able to shout out which room they were in, and Deputy Stillson, using a bar, was able to break open the plywood that covered the window. Both occupants and their dog, with the assistance of the deputies and Chief Pettit, were able to climb out the window and helped to the ground.
Firefighters were able to quickly knock the fire down, and while doing a secondary search, found a second dog in a back room which was taken to safety. The occupants identified as 37-year-old Amy Cook and 67-year-old Billy Dallas. Both were treated at the scene and released.
Dallas is the owner of the property, which was not insured. Damages are estimated to be around $50,000. Cook owned the 2008 Dodge Avenger, which was a total loss and also not insured.
The cause of the blaze is unknown at this time, but it started in the area of the car, according to Chief Pettit. The incident is being investigated by the Page County Sheriff’s Office.
Six units from the Stanley Fire Department and 23 firefighters responded to the call. They were on the scene for about two hours. Two Page County EMS units also responded, along with units from the Sheriff’s Office.
Chief Pettit noted that residents who choose to board windows and doors up for safety reasons need to realize that it only hampers first responders when trying to get in during emergencies. It is suggested that property owners contact the Sheriff’s Office or local police department for advice on protecting your home.
Chief Pettit also credited the Page County ECC staff with keeping the occupants on the phone as long as possible, advising them to stay in one room and close to the floor until firefighters arrived. Pettit stated that the rescue was a joint effort by all involved.
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