by Karen Sherrell
Firefighters stayed busy last week when an arsonist set several fires in Horseshoe Bend.
On Wednesday, January 31, Izard County dispatch began receiving calls from the Horseshoe Bend area, concerning several fires throughout the city. The Horseshoe Bend Fire Department responded with personnel, brush trucks and fire engines, and mutual aid was provided by Zion, Franklin, Morriston, Agnos-Glencoe-Heart Fire Departments, and the Arkansas Forestry Commission.
The intentionally set fires were located in the areas of Kennedy and Executive Drives to the quarry on Hwy. 56, Pine Ridge Road at Moonstone, South Shore Drive at Tri Lakes Drive, Primrose and Memory Lanes, Springfield Avenue at Moonstone, several on North and South Little Rock Roads, Shady Lane at Pony Lane, and Clark Lane at Enterprise Lane.
Strong winds and gusts enabled the fires to move quickly, and firefighters were dispatched throughout the entire city for several hours. Smaller crews, sometimes one or two firefighters, remained at each scene to keep the fires from spreading through the underbrush. Firefighters responded through the night.
A home on Pony Lane was in the path of a quickly moving brush fire, and volunteers on the scene beat the flames down before the pumper trucks arrived from another hot spot.
No injuries were reported and no structures were lost in the fire outbreak.
This area is in moderate danger of wildfires spreading according to the Forestry Commission, and that, with the wind gusts, could have resulted in severe damage if not for the response time of firefighters and volunteers.
Additional fires occurred that same day on Military Road in Franklin and Lacrosse Road in Melbourne.
The fires are under investigation, according to Izard County Chief Deputy Earnie Blackley, and the department is actively searching for the suspect(s).

oxfordfire
TOTAL LOSS: Just as the cleanup ended after fire destroyed the Oxford Store, the remaining store in Oxford has burned. Fire departments were called to a structure fire at Oxford Super Stop on Main Street in Oxford at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. Oxford and Franklin Fire Departments responded to the scene at 9:40 p.m. and were on the scene until 1:35 a.m. according to Oxford Fire Chief Alan Estes. Cause of the fire was possibly electrical, with the junction box and wall burned at the back of the store. Fire damage was minimal, but extreme heat and smoke damage charred the entire store. Early reports of an explosion on social media the evening of the fire were untrue. The store remains closed at this time. Photo/K.Sherrell

housefire
TOTAL LOSS: Horseshoe Bend and Franklin Fire Departments responded to the scene of a house fire at 1102 Pearl Drive in Horseshoe Bend on Saturday, April 25 at approximately 11 p.m. No injuries were reported with the fire, and the home was a total loss. Owner of the home is Ed Wariner of Horseshoe Bend, which was currently occupied by Athania Hardin and her three year old daughter. According to Fire Chief Mike Hilliker, the cause of the fire is under investigation. Personnel were on the scene until 3 a.m. Sunday morning. Photo/K.Sherrell

Vernon Gene Hightower, age 63, of Ash Flat died Saturday, October 11 at the Arkansas Childrens Hospital Burn Unit due to complications from an accident. Vernon was a retired construction worker. He was born January 6, 1951 in Batesville to the late William and Mary (Inman) Hightower.
Vernon is survived by his son; Michael Hightower; grandson, Christian Hightower, and a brother Jerrell Hightower.
He is preceded in death by his parents, three sisters and a brother.
A memorial service was held Friday, October 17 at 10 a.m. at the Franklin Fire Department. Inurnment followed at 2 p.m. in the Agnos Cemetery.

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