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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company

Sober reflections of one who witnessed battle of man vs fire
Houston County Courier

The Embroglio
By Larry Thomas
Contributing Writer

Sitting on porch, the smell of smoke got my attention off of my crossword and to the direction from whence it came. Well, it didn’t take a second and I drove around to and out Hwy. 7 past the airport, to find people on four-wheelers standing by the road watching the start of what would grow into a 5,000 acre raging inferno. They stated a limb had struck a high line and their electricity was off! That limb in its turn sparked the start of a small “hell in Houston County”. In a matter of minutes we watched a deer stand flame and burn; Sorry Mr. Hunter. With that I headed back to my place on Hwy. 287 South to watch its progress. Soon a fire marshal drove in and asked if they could use my yard as a headquarters and staging area. That was a no brainer, the answer was “Yes”. Well, with that said and done, they set up the command center in my truck shed and the game was on! Soon fire trucks from every volunteer fire department in the county was roling into my yard and just as fast were dispatched to hotspots as the calls came in. Now I want to say here, before I go on with this narration, that Crockett has got a “keeper” in its new fire chief, John Angerstien. That man has drive and talent in organization, spirit and leadership par excellence. This man went all day and night to only stop for a three-hour respite and was back at it for another that entire mess! What a job. The highway department should build and repair roads with such dispatch and in the heat of flaming brush and trees. Gut! That’s what it takes to ride through hell behind a hot diesel, dust and ashes. That clankity-clank coming through the woods sounds like music to the ears when the fire is nearing your home! Which brings to mind, five houses were lost and five or six barns. With that said, they saved 47 homes with the flames at the door. Now, that’s doing something. One dear lady that lost her home thanked the firemen for their efforts. Now that’s a lady! Now I want to tell you, when Houston County people are asked for help; they turn out! Pretty soon local store shelves were bare of water and Gatorade. The sheriff’s department cooked two huge pots of spaghetti and meat sauce and delivered it to the Senior Citizens Center where volunteers were setting up to feed fire victims and firefighters’ families. The local food establishments in Crockett sent hamburgers, sandwiches, Mexican food and barbecue. Now there is a tale -- one crew called in an order for barbecue dinners which, when delivered, no was there to rescue them. To say they were enjoyed by all is true, all except that crew. It was made up for when discovered. No one went hungry. The people would drive up and upload food and drinks by the car load. They understood what the fight was about and responded with heart and grace. Well, this morning the smoke lay thick on the ground, the visibility at zero. With that the command center left my yard to set up at the 4-H shooting range until the end of the small flare ups. Whoa! Three days of gun-smoke, gang busters, The Korean War was over! Well, it’s back to sitting on the porch watching the grass die. Darn, I’m proud I live here. Sail on Ship of State. Expedit


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