North Cherokee volunteer firefighters wait anxiously outside a Cherokee County home Wednesday afternoon, in case the firefighters inside need back up as they battle flames in the second story of the home. Progress photo by Jay Neal

By Jay Neal and Cristin Ross

Quiet country living for Cherokee County resident Eva Moore was disrupted shortly after noon Wednesday when a fire broke out in her two-story home.

The fire is thought to have started in or around the fireplace of the residence, located about a mile northeast of Farm-to-Market Road 22 on County Road 1519. First responder Gallatin Volunteer Fire Department received the call around 12:30 p.m.

“The second story was very involved by the time we got there,” Gallatin Fire Chief George Bostock IV said. “And it being out in the county, we were initially short on manpower, but several other departments got there pretty quickly so it wasn’t bad for long.”

Bostock said fighting fires in two-story structures is always complicated.

“There’s more floor space to watch,” he explained. “Plus when you’re inside, you have to worry about the second floor coming down on you, or if you’re upstairs, ending up falling through a damaged floor.”

Moore, who has lived at the location for 13 years, was alone inside the house when the flames erupted. She managed to escape the dwelling without injury.

“It made a mess,” Bostock said. “But we were able to salvage some of the owner’s possessions.”

North Cherokee, Earle’s Chapel and New Summerfield volunteer fire departments assisted in controlling the blaze, which completely engulfed the structure. The fire was deemed completely out about an hour after the call was received. Firefighters stayed at the scene for three hours, making sure hot spots didn’t reignite the structure’s remains.

A Jacksonville Fire Department captain also responded to the incident.

Medical units from the JFD as well as from East Texas Medical Center were at the scene as a precautionary measure. Nearly 20 firemen fought the raging blaze.

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