Firefighters Respond to Bailey Hill Blaze

Published 8:53 am Saturday, April 9, 2022

Firefighters from the Harlan City Fire Department, the Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department and Wallins Volunteer Fire Department battled a blaze in the Bailey Hill area of the city on Monday.

Harlan City Fire Department Assistant Chief James Billings talked about the incident, which occurred on Oak Street in Harlan.
“We were paged at approximately 3:46 p.m.,” Billings said. “The Harlan City Police Department reported there was a structure fire on Oak Street.”

According to Billings, when he and the other firefighters arrived at the Oak Street location they determined the structure, a small outbuilding, was already fully engulfed and beyond saving. However, the fire was spreading to other areas.

“The fire had already jumped into the wooded area and had proceeded up Oak Street,” Billings explained. “The fire was already threatening some homes in the area.”

Billings said a call for assistance then went out.

“We had Sunshine and Wallins fire departments paged for the manpower,” Billings said. “Since the fire was spreading so rapidly, we split up. The Kentucky Division of Forestry arrived and put in control lines.”

Billings explained once the fire was extinguished, personnel continued to observe the area for the rest of the evening in case of re-ignition.

While the fire did spread over a large area, only one structure was damaged.

“The fire damaged the building of origin,” Billings said. “A young man was outside burning some small pieces of wood. He said he went inside for a second and when he came back out the whole place was ablaze.”

Billings pointed out conditions are currently conducive to fires getting out of control quickly. Currently, it is fire season in Kentucky, during which time there are restrictions on when and where people may burn items.

“It’s on the Harlan City Fire Department’s Facebook page,” Billings said. “No burning within 150 feet of wooded areas, and you must have tools to extinguish the fire if need be, such as garden hoses, rakes, etc. Right now, we are under a fire watch, so there’s no burning whatsoever.”

Billings said information on current conditions and if burning is permissible may be found at the Harlan City Fire Department Facebook page as well as the Harlan County Emergency Management Facebook page.

The fire was extinguished by approximately 6 p.m. Billings asks the public to adhere to the burning restrictions that are in place.

“Please don’t burn,” Billings said. “You could burn down your house or maybe even kill somebody.”