Family safe after devastating fire in Robertson County
MOUNT OLIVET – Thanks to the smell of smoke upon waking, a smart daughter, a quick reaction from a mother and the hard work of a volunteer fire department, a family of six is safe today.
On the morning of Wednesday, January 26, the French family woke up to a fire that would engulf their home and leave nothing behind.
Sarah French lived in the house, with her five little girls. The fact that a little girl was woken up by the smell of smoke helped her family get away safely, Robertson County Fire Chief Jamie Fulton said.
Fulton said that after the child woke up, she went to wake her mother. French found the family woodstove in the kitchen and the wall it was attached to was on fire. His quick decisions saved their lives. Fulton said “it could easily have been another fatal fire”.
The Robertson County Volunteer Fire Department was on hand to put out the fire at 125 South Main Street in Mount Olivet shortly after the call was made. Fulton said he was on the scene within 20 minutes and by then half the house was already submerged. He assumes that the old house was dry and that led to the flames spreading rapidly.
Firefighters received the call around 2:30 a.m. and did not leave until around 6:30 a.m. Fulton said French and her children, along with their dogs, were able to get out, but only had time to catch a mobile phone and keys. Due to the lack of shoes or cold weather clothing, the keys were a lifesaver, allowing the family to stay warm in the car, especially since the minimum temperature was 12 degrees.
The family cats failed to get to safety.
Carolyn French, Sarah French’s mum, said: ‘When I heard this come across the scanner my heart sank. I tried calling her and got no answer, but by the time I put my keys, shoes and jacket on, she was outside my house.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Carolyn French said. She said her granddaughter is a “great hero” because without her the family might not have survived.
Many citizens have expressed concern for the family and the city. Danielle Whitaker, the granddaughter of the previous owner, fondly remembers her grandfather, Melvin D Whitaker, laying stone at the front of the house and making many additions to the structure. She said she, like so many others, has fond memories of the house and is very saddened by the loss.
Events like this shake up the whole community, especially the tight-knit ones like Mount Olivet. Many wonder what they can do to help.
The Robertson County Executive Judge’s Facebook account reads, “Due to a house fire this morning, I have a family that needs everything.” Executive Judge Stephanie Holbrook said these items are needed: a women’s size medium shirt, size 3 pants and a size 8 shoe. Girls sizes 12/14, 7/8, 6x, 4t, 5t and 10 garments and sizes 3, 2, 1 (for 2 children) and 10 (for 2 children). Men’s shirt size L, pants 32×35 and shoes size 10 to 10.5. Locations where donations could be dropped off were also displayed.
Donation sites include the Robertson County Courthouse, Robertson County Schools, and the Robertson County Schools Family Resource and Youth Services Center.