A Crothersville-Vernon Township firefighter douses some remaining hot spots during the mop up of a fire that destroyed the home of Eugene & Trish Begley Friday morning, Jan. 9.
Firefighters from four departments battled fire, bitterly cold temperatures and gusting wind during an early Friday morning fire that destroyed the home of Eugene ‘Sarge’ & Trish Begley in the 7000 block of South County Road 975 E in the Bethany neighborhood southwest of Crothersville. Firefighters were summoned to the scene at 5:20 a.m. “When we got here the back half of the roof had collapsed,” said Crothersville-Vernon Township Fire Chief Ben Spencer. “The Begleys were fortunate to have escaped with no injury.” Spencer reported that Eugene Begley told him he was awakened by a loud noise and heard smoke alarms going off. “The house was filled with smoke so he got his wife and two grandchildren out through bedroom windows,” said the fire chief. Spencer summoned additional help from nearby Grassy Fork, Jennings Township and Jackson-Washington Fire Departments for water tankers and manpower. “We were having problems with hoses and nozzles freezing,” he said noting that temperatures at the time of the fire were in the low teens. “And the gusting wind really made extinguishing the fire nearly impossible. Once the roof had collapsed, the wind just drove it through the house.” About 30 firefighters from the four departments were on the scene and used around 24,000 gallons of water to quench the blaze, he reported. Local firefighters left the scene around 12:10 p.m. he said. Spencer said the cause of the fire in still under investigation and is believed to be accidental. “It appears to have started in the back family room but the fire was so intense it burned up electrical plug-ins and wiring,” said Spencer. He said he had called in an investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s office to assist in trying to determine the cause of the blaze. He said the Begleys’, who lost everything in the blaze, did have insurance and are staying with family for the time being.