Fire swept the home of Walter Tidwell late Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning. The 71 year old was awakened to his smoke alarm at around 11:30 and was able to escape the flames consuming his home at 886 County Road 1368 just North of Pontica Lake in rural Carmi. Tidwell and his dog were both able to flee through the back door.
Fire Chief Larry Hite says the home is a total loss and Tidwell also lost an outbuilding in the blaze. Tidwell’s neighbors, Jim and Jean Kingery also suffered smoke and heat damage to their home, but fire crews from Carmi, Crossville, Enfield and Norris City were able to keep it under control. The Kingery’s were able to stay in their home.
Tidwell is staying with a relative on Conger in Norris City for the time being though he’s lost everything. Hite says he’s working with the Red Cross to help get Tidwell the basics for the time being. He wears pants size 38 x 32, shirts with a collar of 16 ½ and a 10 ½ size shoe for those able to assist. To donate, contact Carmi Fire Department Chief Larry Hite directly at 384 – 7346 and drop items off at the Carmi Fire Department.
The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. Hite says the State Fire Marshall will be brought in on Monday.