Reporter: Kennan Oliphant
Trash being burned next to a Henderson County home may have caused a fire late Tuesday afternoon that sent four firefighters to the hospital for heat exhaustion.
The couple living there escaped, but lost all their belongings. The fire broke out during the hottest part of the day. And the smoke, flames and heat took their toll on the volunteer firefighters.
A tough battle made even tougher with the high heat and humidity. Yates says, "Especially this time of year, this fire couldn’t have happened at the worst time of the day." The Red Cross brought mist fans, bottled water and ice to help cool these volunteer firefighters from Reed, Zion and Baskett. Neighbors pitched in dousing sheets with cold water for firefighters to use around their necks.
At least seven fire fighters fainted from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Zion Chief Gary Jackson says, "When a firefighter straps on all this gear he has to use to fight a fire as well as keep him from getting hurt, it also keeps him very hot."
Chief Jackson says four men were taken to Methodist Hospital in Henderson for treatment. "I’m a hundred percent confident they all be just fine. We’ve also had guys just get hot here on the scene. We’ve cooled them off with cool towels and bottled water and things like that."
Two of the four firefighters taken to the hospital were kept overnight for observation. The homeowner, David Nichols, suffered a minor head cut when he went back into the home after the fire was out. The Nichols family is staying with relatives and receiving food, clothing and other assistance from the Henderson Red Cross.