A Jones County man was critically injured in one of two house fires that occurred in Jones County early Sunday morning, July 19.
Keith Shirley was transported to South Central Regional Medical Center by EMServ Ambulance Service and later transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Jackson suffering from inhalation burns he received when his house on Williams Road in the Glade Community caught fire.
At 6:14 a.m., fire units from Glade, Powers, and M&M Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the home and found flames shooting from the rear portion of the home upon arrival. A second alarm was sent out for water and manpower support from Ovett and Calhoun VFDs. An aggressive interior and exterior attack brought the fire under control and the second alarm was cancelled, sending Ovett and Calhoun back to their stations.
Shirley said he woke up coughing and choking and was able to run out the front door and down to a neighbor’s house to get help and call 911. His wife, Noel, and two children are visiting relatives in another state, and thankfully were not at home at the time of the fire.
“He was fortunate to escape from the fire,” exclaimed Jones County Fire Coordinator Dan McKenna. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with him, and his family.”
Shirley is the brother of Hellfighters Mortorcyle Shop manager, Mike Shirley.
McKenna said there were no working fire alarms in the home and urged homeowners to install fire alarms if they do not have them, and to make sure that their installed fire alarms are working properly. “Fire alarms are such a cheap investment, and can make the difference between life and death in so many cases,” stated McKenna.
Although Shirley was able to safely escape the burning home, one of his dogs, a puppy, did not and perished inside the home. His other dog, a Dachshund, however, did make it out safely. Firefighters buried the puppy in the backyard for Shirley.
The other structure fire Sunday morning occurred around 1:15 a.m. in the Sharon community. Fire units from Sharon and Shady Grove VFDs responded to the report of an abandoned house on fire on Reedy Creek Extension. When fire units arrived, the house was fully involved in flames and falling in. The house was the old family homestead of Pastor Kenny McMinn. The cause of the fire is unknown.
The cause of the fire at the Shirley home remains under investigation by the State Fire Marshall’s Office and Jones County Sheriff’s Department Fire Investigator Sgt. Scott Gable.
The Jones County volunteer firefighters are always grateful to see FOMA (Fishers of Men in Action) from Magnolia Baptist Church roll onto the scene with water and Gatorade, which they did Sunday morning, and hope that their service can continue.
Story by Linda Cranford, Jones County Fire Service PIO
Photos submitted by Jones County Fire Service