Fire destroys two-story home in Jones County

Photo Courtesy of JCSD Sgt. Gable
Photo Courtesy of JCSD Sgt. Gable

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The following is a press release from the Jones County Fire Council

An early Friday morning fire destroyed a two-story home in East Jones County. At approximately 12:30 a.m. Volunteer Fire Departments from Powers, M&M and Glade were called to the home of Sam Bilbrew, located at the end of Bilbrew Road, a narrow one lane gravel road off Eastview Drive.

According to Lance Chancellor, with the Powers VFD, who were the first to arrive on scene, upon arrival the firefighters encountered heavy fire conditions with a total roof collapse over the living room area of the bottom story of the two-story home, with flames spreading to the second story and second story attic space of the main portion of the home.

Bilbrew was able to get his family out of the home after awakening to find the home on fire and attempting to put the fire out.

According to Jones County Sheriff's Department Fire Investigator Scott Gable, the fire apparently started in the recently installed wood burning fireplace-heater, which the homeowner had overloaded with woodchips, and the fire spread up the interior walls and into the attic.

During the fire attack, a medical oxygen tank, of unknown size, exploded, blowing out all of the windows in the home and spreading fire throughout every area of the first floor.  Fortunately, no firefighters were inside the home when the explosion occurred and no injuries were reported.

The explosion was loud enough to be heard for a considerable distance and shook the entire blazing home causing the roof of the second story to collapse and preventing firefighters from entering the structure for an interior attack.  The home was deemed a total loss.

Sandersville VFD responded to a second alarm for additional water support and manpower and a third alarm went out sending Calhoun VFD to the scene with water and manpower.

Also responding to the scene was Mississippi Power Company, Jones County Sheriff's Department, Red Cross and Magnolia Baptist Church's Fishers of Men in Action (FOMA), who provided snacks and hydrations for the firefighters, who remained on scene for over four hours. EmServ ambulance was also requested to respond to the scene to remain on standby.

Bilbrew had spent most of his life building the approximately 3,000 sq. ft. two-story brick home by adding on to a small house he had moved to the property many years ago.  Doing most of the work himself, he was just completing the last edition to the home when the fire destroyed his life's work.  "I would have finished painting the living room area today (Friday)," said Bilbrew, "and the house would have been all finished."