Four Trufant residents safe after quick knockdown of house fire

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 9:40 am on Thursday, October 25, 2012

Firefighters from the Maple Valley Township Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire at 15721 W. Stanton road Wednesday afternoon where they quickly extinguished the fire. All four residents escaped the fire safely. — Daily News/Cory Smith


MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP — A young man’s desire for a glass of water before heading to bed may have turned out to be a life-saving gesture after he entered the kitchen to find the ceiling on fire.

Rusty Vansiclen, 22, one of four Trufant-area residents living at 15721 W. Stanton road, said had he not walked into the kitchen Wednesday afternoon to get a glass of water, as he regularly does before going to sleep, the fire that was quickly extinguished by Maple Valley Township firefighters could have “been a lot worse” for he and his roomates, who were asleep.

“I actually got up to get a drink of water out of the kitchen and I felt the heat from the ceiling,” Vansiclen said. “I looked up and there were brown spots all over the ceiling and you could hear the crackling of the fire. Thank god for my thirstiness.”

Trufant-area residents Rusty Vansiclen, 22, left, and David Sees, 19, right, survey damage done to their kitchen from a fire that was quickly extinguished by Maple Valley Township Firefighters. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Vansiclen quickly woke up everyone in the house and roommate Lanay Jolley, 17, called 9-1-1.

Maple Valley Township Fire Chief Dan Kain said his department was dispatched at 3:56 p.m. to the home and could see smoke but no flames on arrival.

“It was toned in as a structure fire,” he said. “When we arrived there was smoke coming out of the eaves and into the attic.”

Kain said a team of firefighters was sent in for an “offensive attack” and immediately discovered the fire above the stove in the kitchen.

“We were able to knock (the fire) down very quickly,” he said. “It was a fast attack from our crew. For being a modular home, this was a very good save. I’m very proud of our firefighters.”

According to Kain, about 500 gallons of water was used to fight the fire, which took approximately 10 minutes to extinguish.

“There’s probably 20 percent smoke damage throughout the house and a little bit of water damage,” he said.

Kain said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“I’m sure it’s some sort of cooking fire, but we can’t rule on that until we investigate further.”

No one was injured.

The doublewide trailer is owned by Roger Jolley of Maple Valley Township, who does not live in the home, but his daughter, Lanay Jolley, 17, her boyfriend, David Sees, 19, Vansiclen, and his girlfriend, Breanna Wilburn, 18, live in the home.

“Everyone is OK,” Lanay Jolley said, adding that two dogs and a cat were also OK.

Lanay Jolley said she and her three friends live a “third shift mentality” and often sleep in the mid afternoon.

She added that there were smoke detectors in the home, but they have not been operational for a few years.

Lanay Jolley’s mother, Missy Kohler, who lives just down the road, said she was just thankful to see everyone safe after driving up the road to see smoke coming from the house.

“They are just blessed that they weren’t asleep, or they would have been dead,” she said. “The Lord had his guardian angels around this house.”

According to Sees, the fire appeared to stem from a smaller fire that occurred earlier in the day.

Sees said they had discovered smoldering wires and smoke above the stove, but believed to have everything under control as of 2 p.m.

“I assumed that the first fire was completely out,” he said. “We made all of the necessary phone calls and laid back down to bed, but then I woke up to a banging on the door with the (kitchen) ceiling on fire.”

Sees said everyone rushed to gather important items out of the house but other than the stove and above cabinets, nothing else was lost in the fire.

“We got lucky,” he said.

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