March 24, 2014

Family of four escapes Fort Worth house fire

Five days after returning home, 49-year-old Rickey Pimpton helped his mother and brother escape the house fire that destroyed their home.

After a stint in prison and a halfway house, Rickey Pimpton returned home to his family last week.

Monday morning, he was especially thankful that he did.

About 7:30 a.m., the 49-year-old Fort Worth man awoke to the smoke detector’s wail and found his older brother and mother trying to put out a fire that had apparently started in his brother’s room.

“I think he said it was like some kind of bad wiring in the wall or something,” Pimpton said. “He just woke up and it was on fire.”

After ordering their older sister out the home in the 1200 block of East Tucker Street, the three remained behind and tried to put out the fire but soon found themselves blocked from the home’s exits.

“It got too out of hand — too big of a blaze to just throw some water on and try to put it out,” Pimpton said. “It trapped us between the kitchen, and my room was the only way we could come past it.”

Pimpton opened his bedroom window, allowing all three to escape the blaze. His 73-year-old mother, who suffered a cut finger and singed hair, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

“When I put her out the window, her ring got caught on a nail on that damn window,” Pimpton said.

He and his brother were given oxygen at the scene but were otherwise OK, he said.

Staring at the still-smoldering remains of his family’s Fort Worth home Monday morning, Pimpton said he didn’t want to even imagine what might have happened had he not been home. He said his mother is currently under a doctor’s care and his brother previously had a stroke, leaving him unable to move with ease or quickness.

“I don’t want to think of it,” he said. “They all I got.”

Fire investigators were still investigating the cause of the blaze Monday afternoon.

Battalion Chief Richard Harrison said a large number of possessions stored within the house fueled the fire, causing firefighters to have to pull out from the home and fight the flames from outside.

Fort Worth firefighters have been canvasing several Fort Worth neighborhoods this year, installing smoke detectors when needed, after a rash of fatal house fires.

Since November, eight people have died in six fires.

“In those incidents, no working smoke detectors were found in the homes,” said Tim Hardeman, a Fire Department spokesman.

The latest fatality occurred early Saturday, when firefighters discovered the body of Eunice Middlebrook, 82, inside her home in the 3600 block of South Hughes Avenue. Fire officials said they found no working smoke detectors inside the home.

Hardeman urged all residents to have operating smoke detectors in their homes. Those who cannot afford a smoke detector can contact the department at 817-392-6862 to have one installed free of charge.

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