Fire destroys home near Red Level

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

A structure fire left a Covington County family homeless Tuesday afternoon. The home of James Mack and his family, located at 32021 Hester's Store Road, was a complete loss to a fire despite the efforts of firefighters from Buck Creek VFD, Red Level Fire Department, River Falls Fire Department and Loango VFD.

The house was located approximately one-half mile east of Alabama Highway 55.

The fire was reported via an E-911 call at 3:15 p.m.

Red Level Police Chief David Anderson said the fire began at an air conditioning unit located in a rear area of the house.

Lisa Mack reported being at home with two young children when she smelled smoke, Anderson said. She went toward the rear of the house and saw a window air conditioning unit on fire, he added.

"She smelled smoke and when she looked at the A/C unit it was flaming," Anderson said.

Mack then put her two young children in a car and drove to a neighbor's house. James Mack and two other children were not at home at the time of the fire. The family members, including three dogs, were not injured in the blaze.

The house was home to four adults and five children, according to W.B. Stewart, chapter manager of the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

James and Lisa Mack lived in the house along with their four children. Their four children are Elizabeth (7), Ryan (5), Sabrina (2) and Kaleigh (7 months). Also living in the house were James Mack' mother Mary Mack, his uncle Curtis Allen and Mary Mack' adopted daughter Brittney Patterson (11).

The house was a complete loss with firefighters working for more than an hour attempting to put out the blaze. The fire was also a traffic hazard and caused traffic on Hester's Store Road (Covington County Highway 51) to be detoured until the fire was extinguished.

Stewart was at the scene of the fire to assist the family.

The American Red Cross provides emergency assistance, including food, shelter and clothing for a limited time, Stewart said. The family is not believed to have had insurance covering the house in case of fire.

For information about making donations or helping the Mack family contact W.B. Stewart at the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross at 428-2680. The family is in need of long-term housing and all household items as well as clothing and other personal items.

The official cause of the fire has not been determined. The fire remains under investigation.

Other emergency personnel responding to the fire included officers from the Covington County Sheriff's Department, River Falls Police Department and members of the Andalusia Rescue Squad.