Fire departments from Bauxite, Sardis, Shaw and Tull responded to a brush fire near Mars Hill Road south of Bauxite Sunday afternoon. The fire was fanned by high winds that brought the flames within 30 yards of homes in the area. Residents of the area stood and watched while two tanker trucks, two pumper trucks and bulldozers arrived to fight the fire.
Jeanne Rothwell stood in her backyard as the flames and smoke were blown toward the home she shares with her husband, Cecil. "I was in the house and my husband called. He told me to grab what I needed and get out of the house.", said Jeanne. She told her husband that she was waiting to go to the hospital because her neighbors were at the hospital having a baby.
Kristin and Verlon Stovall, neighbors of the Rothwell's, joined in the watch as they prepared to leave if necessary.
Approximately twenty firefighters from the responding departments battled the fire with water hoses, portable water tanks, rakes and shovels. Homeowners along the path of the fire moved their vehicles to locations down the road. They also helped the effort by assisting the firefighters as directed.
The source of the fire is unknown at press time. Neighbors state this is not the first time a fire of this type has threatened their homes. The acreage behind the housing addition had been clear cut in the past and is covered with brush and grass that provided ready tender for the fire.
Two bulldozers, one from a local resident and one from the forestry service, arrived to form a fire break. The fire was contained as it moved toward a creek bed. Approximately two hours after it began, the fire was extinguished.
Jeanne Rothwell says she has lived in Saline County with her husband Cecil for five years. Previously, the couple lived in Bradley, Ark. "We hear a lot about all the bad things going on in this county. I love living here and there is so much good going on. When the fire started, people just started showing up to fight it. All the praise should go to the firefighters from all the stations that came out to help us. We are grateful to them for what they have done today.", said Jeanne.
The Rothwell's and the Stovall's were asked to pose for a picture in relation to this story. They refused, saying all the attention should be on the firefighters.
Mars Hill Road is located south of Bauxite and east of Tull in Saline County.