APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WMBB) — A local sheriff was on the wrong side of a 911 call earlier this week.
Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith realized his bedroom was in flames after hearing a door slam against the wall.
The small fire he’d built in his fireplace caused a fire in his upstairs bedroom.
“The door was closed and then all of a sudden the door just blew open, it like slammed against the wall very violently,” Smith said. “It just got so hot that it popped that door open, which I was very fortunate you know, that alerted us that something was going on because there were no smoke detectors up there.”
Smith told his wife to call 911 and he ran out to his truck for a fire extinguisher.
“If I had not had the fire extinguisher, it probably would have been a lot worse because that enabled me to kind of beat it down for a few minutes till the fire department could get there,” Smith said.
The Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene. They battled the remaining flames and smoke.
Chief George Watkins said everyone should have an extinguisher in their homes.
“You’ve got so many heat sources, you’ve got small heaters and then you’ve got stove switches, I would say one of the biggest reasons we’ve had to get called out was a stove fire,” Watkins said. “A fire extinguisher is pretty good for that and then, of course, if you’ve got a fireplace, that’s another reason to have one.”
He also shared some other fire safety tips.
“Smoke alarms and be aware, you know, try to be aware of all everything,” Watkins said. “If it looks like something could happen, get rid of heat lamps, just take all precautions because it don’t happen all the time, fires don’t, but when they do, they’re usually either going to hurt somebody or some of your property.”
Sheriff Smith and his wife were not injured during the fire.
Apalachicola is a volunteer fire department so, response times are a bit longer. The station, Nueman Marshall Fire Station, is named after Watkins’s grandfather who was a firefighter for 74 years.
All Franklin County law enforcement officers carry fire extinguishers in their vehicles