Arjay residence destroyed by fire

Published 12:33 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Freezing temperatures contributed to a Bell County family losing almost everything in a house fire early Tuesday morning.

According to a news release from the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department and Arjay Company Capt. Adron Wilson, they responded to a chimney fire at a residence on Arjay Hill around 1:53 a.m. The residence was owned by Jerry and Rebecca Shepherd.

Due to the freezing temperatures, firefighters had a difficult time fighting the fire. Four pumper trucks were dispatched to the scene.

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“Upon arriving on scene the fire had spread from the chimney to the front eave of the home. With the temperature being 3 degrees the situation turned for the worse very quickly,” the release stated.

When Pumper 5 arrived, firefighters discovered the discharge ports had already frozen and no water could be pumped from the pumper. Pumper 1 was used as the initial knock down truck and nearly had the blaze under control when the 1,000 gallon truck ran empty. Pumper 10 arrived and began supplying water to Pumper 1. The fire spread between the ceiling and roof. The blaze was nearly under control when Pumper 7 started having difficulty pumping water to Pumper 10, which in turn was supplying water to Pumper 1.

“The temperature was causing the fittings and hose lines to freeze immediately,” the release stated. “The lack of a full water supply allowed the flames to spread fully to the attic space which resulted in the fire getting out of control. Although a tremendous effort was being done by members of the fire department, Mother Nature had other plans. The home was soon fully engulfed by fire and the home was a total loss.”

The family got out of the house with the clothes they had on and were only able to grab a few items, the release stated. The BCVFD reported that there are five family members in need.

The father, Jerry Shepherd, wears 38-by-32 pants, size XL shirt and coat and size 12 shoes or boots. The mother, Rebecca, wears size 18-20 blouse or jacket, size 20-22W skirt and 8W shoes. Jared, 12, wears a man’s size medium shirt, 18 husky pants and size 10 shoes or boots. Aleah, 3, wears 4t-5t dresses or jacket and size 8-9 shoes or boots. Daughter Taylor wears size large blouse or jacket, size 8 shoes, and size 14 skirts. Any items you may have to assist this family can be dropped off at the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department Headquarters on Page School Road.

“Anything to help this family would be greatly appreciated,” said Wilson.

The Big One WRIL contributed to this article.