Micah and Treva Bailey are learning a new meaning to neighborly after a fire destroyed at least two outbuildings and damaged their home at 218 W. 2nd St. in Florence shortly before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“A neighbor who lives one block over just happened to drive by and saw the fire,” Mary Britton, who owns the home across the street from the Baileys, said.
According to Britton, the neighbor stopped at a home of a woman he thought owned the property on fire. She did not and called 911 before running to Britton’s house fearing one of the Baileys’ six children could be inside the house. No one was home at the time of the fire.
“When she came inside the outbuildings were not on fire yet,” Britton said. “When I got out of my house they were. It happened so fast.”
Florence firefighters were the first to respond, as well as firefighters from Peabody and Marion, sheriff’s officers, Florence police, and Florence EMS. Heavy smoke prevented fire trucks from traveling down Second St.
The Baileys were heading home from Wichita with their youngest daughter. They arrived just after firefighters extinguished the remaining hot spots around the outbuildings.
Four dogs were in the home at the time of the fire.
“We feared the worst when firefighters kicked in the side door and called and they didn’t run out,” Britton said.
When firefighters opened the front door all four dogs ran out, unharmed but wet from fire hoses pumping water into the house.
Florence Fire Chief Mark Slater said he does not think the home is a complete loss because there was only fire damage to two rooms on the west side of the home; however, the home sustained heavy smoke damage. The cause of the fire is still undetermined, Slater said.
“Now we just need to figure out how to rebuild our home,” Micah Bailey said. “On nice days like this I’m usually outside working. If I had been I could have caught it.”
Britton will be accepting donations for the Baileys at Auntie M’s Diner, 503 Main St., Florence.