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Laundry room fire destroys Grady County family’s home

A fire that started in a laundry room dryer vent destroyed the home of a Whigham family Saturday evening. Beatrice and Roosevelt Ellis had lived in the home at 115 Ellis Lane for the last 45 years. Their young grandson also lived with them. The brick house was engulfed in flames when volunteer firefighters from five departments arrived shortly after the fire was reported at 5:20 p.m. Saturday.
Beatrice Ellis, a paraprofessional at Eastside Elementary School, says she and her grandson were not home when the fire started. She says her husband was there, and when he checked on a noise in the laundry room, he ran out of the house without shoes or any cell phone. “He wasn’t able to get back inside,” says Mrs. Ellis.
Without a phone, Mr. Ellis was forced to wait for someone to drive by with a cell phone to report the blaze. Then, he called his wife to forewarn her. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Beatrice Ellis, “I thought it was a little fire until I pulled up there and saw the flames.”
Seth Maxwell, training officer for the Grady County Volunteer Fire Department, says the fire started in the lint vent from the dryer. “The lint is hot coming out of the dryer and can smolder. It can cause fire if it sits there long enough,” Maxwell says. He recommends changing the vent tubing every three to five years as a precaution.
Although the Ellis family did have a vacant home on their property where they are now living, they lost all possessions in the fire.
Shelia Cain, principal at Eastside Elementary School where Beatrice Ellis works, says donations of new clothing or gift cards would be helpful. The grandson wears a men’s medium shirt, and pants of 32W/32L; Mrs. Ellis wears a large, size 14; and Mr. Ellis wears a 60W/Long pant and 4X shirt.
Volunteer firefighters from Pine Level, Whigham, Cairo County, County Line, and Spence volunteer fire departments worked to extinguish the fire from the time it was reported at 5:20 p.m. until it was extinguished between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., according to Maxwell.

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