Ashdown Woman, 4 Children Escape Fire

By BOB PALMER
LRNews Staff Writer

Page 1 Ashdown Fire Pic1
Ashdown firefighters spray water on flames coming from what the owner described as a shed on Crockett Street Monday afternoon.

Fire consumed a classic 1985 Mustang GT Monday, but a woman and four children managed to escape the flames. Carolyn Yandell, 69, said she was babysitting four children at her home on Crockett Street Monday afternoon when she became aware of the blaze next door.

“A little girl came and knocked on the door,” Yandell said. “She said there’s a fire.” At first, Yandell thought the girl meant a grass fire. “Then I realized she meant the shed next door,” Yandell said.

The “shed” appeared to have been a house at one time, but is now used as a storage area.“Things inside the shed began to explode and I got the children out of there,” Yandell related. Tim Merrell, Yandell’s son, said he kept the Mustang in the shed along with family keepsakes.

“There was a lot of stuff,” Merrell, who placed damages at $30,000, said. The Ashdown Volunteer Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene. Although the shed appeared to be a total loss, firefighters were able to keep the blaze from spreading to Yandell’s house next door.

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Carolyn Yandell along with four children she was babysitting escaped from the house next door to the burning shed after a girl came to the door and warned them of the danger.

“We want to thank the neighbors, the fire department the EMTs and the police department for everything they did,” Rhonda Merrell, Yandell’s daughter-in-law, said. “It was nice to see everybody helping.” Rhonda said she believes everything in the shed was lost.

“We’re just glad it didn’t get to the house and everybody was safe,” Rhonda Merrell concluded. Ashdown Fire Chief Steve Jones said the call came in at 5:08 p.m Monday. Trucks were enroute by 5:11 and were on the scene at 370 Crockett at 5:15 p.m.

“When we got there it was single story structure, fully involved,” Jones said. “It took about 20 – 25 minutes to get under control.” Jones confirmed there was no damage to any adjacent structures. Jones rated the shed a total loss.

Three trucks and 12 men responded.Fire Marshall Jake Smith is investigating the cause. “I’m proud of our firefighters,” Jones said. “They did a great job in keeping the fire from spreading.”

Wilton Fires

On Sept. 24, fires struck five buildings and one car in Wilton. Chase Hinton of Wilton confessed to setting the fires, according to Sheriff Bobby Walraven. “Mr. Hinton has a drug addiction, and I think he was looking for something that could get him some help, that could get him long-term treatment,” Walraven said.

“It’s the most I can get out of it.” Only two of the five structures burned completely down — the building on Waco Street and the building on Mill Street — but the other three were saved, including the train depot, according to Wilton Fire Chief Jimmy Young.

All five buildings were vacant at the time. The Wilton Volunteer Fire Department was on the scene of the first fire within a five- to 10-minute time period. The volunteer fire departments of Ashdown, Alleene, Arden, Ben Lomond, Foreman, Oak Hill and Richmond assisted the Wilton department.

Young estimated about 20 to 25 people responded and helped.

“We’re just grateful and thankful that they were there,” Young said. “Everything they did was very much appreciated.”

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