Flue fire damages home of Bakersfield VFD assist. chief
A flue fire broke out at Bakersfield Volunteer Fire Department assistant fire chief Punk Stone’s residence Sunday, according to fire chief Greg Watts.
Watts said that Stone, his half-brother, and Stone’s father awoke that morning, finished their chores and went to get something to eat. When they returned to the house, smoke was billowing out of the home’s attic.
Watts said Stone grabbed a water hose and began soaking the dining room and living room walls, which were on fire. When he realized the fire had spread into the attic, he called for help.
“He couldn’t fight it up in the attic because of all the smoke,” Watts said. “So he took a chainsaw and cut holes in the ceiling trying to get to it.”
Stone’s call for help reached Watts as he was driving to Gainesville; the chief quickly turned around on Bulldog Drive and returned to Bakersfield to help fight the flames. He was the first firefighter on scene other than Stone himself. An Ozark County Sheriff’s dispatcher also called for help from Viola, Byron and Gepp, Arkansas VFDs.
Bakersfield firefighters brought self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs), which allowed them to enter the smoke-filled attic and fight the fire there.
Watts said the home did have some damage, but it can be repaired.
“We were talking about it, and it probably really helped that he was a firefighter and knew what to do,” Watts said. “A lot of people will try to start moving their belongings out of the house, and that lets more oxygen in, which fuels the fire.”
Watts said Stone’s home is actually just across the Ozark County line in Fulton County, Arkansas.
The Bakersfield VFD territory covers an area that spreads from Ozark County into Howell County in Missouri and into Fulton and Baxter counties in Arkansas. The department currently has five active volunteer firefighters.