Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


May 7, 2013

Heroic teen’s house burns

RUSK — The home of a local high school student – who last month helped avert a crisis when his school bus driver suffered an aneurysm while behind the wheel – was destroyed by an early morning fire Saturday, according to the Rusk firefighter investigating the incident.

Members of the Rusk Fire Department responded to a call about 2 a.m. Saturday of a structure fire on Echo Lane, located off U.S. 84 west of town, and “when we got there, we saw visible flames,” said firefighter Terry Phillips.

Teenage resident Blayke Holsome was asleep when the fire broke out, but told firefighters he was awakened by the smell of smoke.

“His bedroom door was closed, but he could see a glow underneath (so he) went through one of the windows and got out of the house,” Phillips said.

“He was the only one home at the time; no injuries were reported.”

The wood-framed house, however, was a total loss.

“When we got there, the flames visible – we made interior attack but (because the fire had spread) into attic … we pulled our firemen out and fought the blaze from outside,” Phillips said, adding that he is investigating the cause of the blaze.

Earlier this month, Holsome's school superintendent, Dr. Scott Davis, praised the youth for his quick thinking for bringing to a safe stop a school bus driven by Billy Joe Pruitt, 76, after the driver suffered a medical emergency on the morning of April 9.

“They were in a parking lot of an apartment complex and slowly rolling to a stop when this occurred,” and because of Hol-some's immediate re-sponse, the vehicle was brought to a safe stop, with no injuries occurring, Davis said.

“I'm really thankful (Holsome) was there that day,” he said.

The teen will be recognized by the Rusk ISD school board during a 6 p.m. May 14 meeting, the superintendent said, adding, “we want to say 'thank you' and give him a little bit of praise for his quick action.

“He was put in the middle of a situation that no one would want to be in, and he handled it well,” Davis said.

Pruitt  died April 18 in Tyler.

Text Only