Two homes, trailer destroyed in $1.5M Courtright fire

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Two homes, a fifth wheel trailer and a couple of pickups were destroyed in a massive fire in Courtright.

Saturday evening, firefighters were called to Templeton Crescent where they found a two homes and a trailer in flames.

St. Clair Fire Chief Richard Boyes says the fire was an accident. The homeowner “was cooking chicken wings in the garage and went into the kitchen and then came back and was fully engulfed.

“It started in the garage became fully involved in the garage then it worked its way out, set the fifth wheel trailer on fire that was in the driveway because it was backed right tight to the garage. And then between the two of them there was enough radiant heat. That it set the second house on fire.”

“Everybody got out, which was the best news of the night,” before the firefighters arrived the chief said.

It took 50 firefighters from the four St. Clair departments to bring the fire under control. The heat from the blaze meant the pumper truck had to be parked out on the street, well away from the fire.

And Boyes says, they worked hard to contain the blaze to the two homes. “Our primary goal was knocking the fire down the other was was protecting the other two exposures on each side of the two burning homes. So that was that was where some of the additional actions went is to get a Water Curtain up to make sure it didn’t spread to house three and four.”

After the fire was out, firefighters rescued three dogs who were in crates in the basement. One cat died in the blaze.

Boyes says the cause of the fire will be listed as accidental. He estimates about $1.5 million in damage was done.

Boyes says as people prepare for holiday parties, they should remember to “never leave any cooking appliance on a stove or barbecue or or anything on unattended and if you are cooking with oil, deep frying etc. Please be especially careful of the temperature of the oil.”

Boyes adds “extreme caution is needed

“The heat and the flames to get higher and then it will start to boil and get over the edge of the pan and then once the oil spreads out, it’s burning. So it doesn’t take long and that’s why we tell you to never take a pot off a stove and throw it in the sink because if you spread the burning oil then you spread the fire.”

Meantime, donation jars have been set up at the Courtright Variety Store and Watson TimbrMart to help the families now homeless according to organizer Cathy Vickerd.

“I’m sure they’re insured but I wouldn’t want to go through this either. So, just because so many people have reached out I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to do something here for a week.’ We’ll put jars out at Watson’s here at the variety store. People want to transfer they can to me, then at the end of the week, I’m going to split what I have and I’m going to split it for the families.”

Vickerd says a couple in their 60s and a older couple with two teens have been displaced by the fire. Both families have found temporary housing with family and friends.