Monday afternoon blaze causes major damage to Bullard home

Published on Monday, 28 April 2014 23:24 - Written by Adam Russell, arussell@tylerpaper.com

A home just inside the Oak Hurst Place near Bullard burned Monday afternoon after a small brush fire escaped beyond control.

Flint-Gresham firefighters responded to a reported grassfire near Bullard and arrived to a residence in the 600 block of Bunker Drive with smoke coming from the roof.

A handyman doing yard work for the homeowner called 911 about noon requesting firefighters “check out” a small grassfire he believed to be under control, Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal Oren Hale said.

Flint-Gresham Cpt. Jeff Molloy said a brush truck and two firefighters responded, “noncode,” which means nonemergency. He said they immediately saw smoke coming from the home’s roof, called for backup and began fighting the fire. But flames quickly spread throughout the attic, he said.

More firefighters and equipment arrived on scene from Flint-Gresham, Bullard, Whitehouse, Dixie and Troup.

Molloy said flames crept up honeysuckle vines attached to the home.

The homeowner, a pharmacist, was working out of town at the time of the fire. Firefighters and friends saved two dogs, a bird and numerous collectables, including art, rare guns and University of Texas at Austin memorabilia from the fire.

The brick home was insured but sustained heavy damage from fire, smoke and water.

Rescued items littered the home’s backyard feet from the burn pile that caused the blaze. The burn pile was less than 15 feet from the home.

Hale said wind and a lack of safety precautions allowed the fire to spread.

Friend Jamison Mahoney said the owner was too distraught about losing his “dream home” and valuables to talk to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

“He’s upset,” Mahoney said. “This is his life, his home, his collections. It’s sad.”