Fire blows out truck windows and gives driver 3rd degree burns

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 25, 2018

Several fires occurred over the course of one weekend – one of which resulted in a man being hospitalized with third-degree burns.

Pearl River County Fire Marshall Albert Lee said that on May 11, at about 1:22 p.m., firefighters were dispatched in regard to a barn structure fire on 27 Caesar Road.

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He said the residents of the property had been burning piles of debris earlier that day.

They thought all of the fires had gone out, but flames spread across the grass and into the barn. Lee said the fire was deemed accidental.

Later that same day, at 2:26 p.m., on Derby White Sand Road close to Frank Smith Road, a vehicle hauling a tree cutter caught on fire.

The fire destroyed the machine and resulted in approximately $50,000 in damages, Lee said. This fire was also deemed accidental.

Lee said the next day, on May 12 at 3:49 a.m., the Pinegrove Fire Department, Carriere Fire Department and Nicholson Fire Department all responded to a structure fire at 14 Panther Circle involving an unoccupied singlewide mobile home.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Lee said it is preliminary being listed as due to an incendiary device.

Later that day, at 9:19 a.m., at 2506 Burnt Bridge Road near the boat launch, a vehicle fire occurred which injured the driver – causing second and third degree burns, Lee said.

The driver was later identified as Timothy Roy Keller, 50 of Picayune. Lee said an investigation discovered that Keller found burned paper in a turkey fryer the day before.

Keller was going to take the debris from the fryer to a dumpster at his business, so he put the remains in a plastic bag and placed it in the back of his pickup truck.

As he began to drive, he noticed a glow in the truck bed. Keller told Lee during his investigation that once he noticed the fire, he planned to drive to the boat launch and get water to put out the flames.

However, while he was on the bridge just before the launch, the fire grew and caused the glass in the back of the truck to blow out. Flames came into the cab of the vehicle, burning Keller.

Lee said he visited Keller in the hospital on Tuesday and he was doing very well. Later the same day, at 4:19 p.m., an unoccupied mobile home on 30 Lakeside Cove caught fire.

Lee said his investigation showed the structure burned as a result of a woods fire that started on neighboring property and spread.

He said the fire has been preliminarily listed as being due to an incendiary device but the cause is still being investigated.

As a result of these incidents, Lee would like to remind county residents that because a fire appears to be out, extra steps still need to taken.

Lee said coals from any fire need to be soaked overnight in water before attempting to put them in any kind of container or in a dry area.

He said he sees many instances where people think a fire is out, only to find that a draft or breeze rekindled the flame and it spread.