By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Fire officials are warning residents about the dangers of burning in the current dry conditions — especially after a northern Pulaski County man was injured while trying to halt an out-of-control blaze.
“At this time of year, it’s dangerous to burn anything,” said Pulaski County Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson, who responded to the incident Monday.
Emergency responders were called to an area off the Northern Crossing area in Eubank on Monday afternoon after they received a report that an approximately 75-year-old man received burns while trying to contain a blaze.
Robinson identified the victim as Dexter Mobley, of Eubank.
“He (Mobley) was burning in a burn barrel and it blew out of the burn barrel,” said Robinson.
Robinson said they’re not sure what Mobley was burning in the burn barrel, but he said the blaze jumped to the nearby woods and spread quickly, as it was fueled by dry leaves and grass.
“It just got away from him,” Robinson said.
Robinson said Mobley fell while attempting to put the blaze out and sustained “second- and third-degree burns from the waist down.”
Robinson said the blaze also spread to a nearby dog pen, and he said the canine in the pen narrowly escaped injury.
Mobley was flown by Air Evac to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for treatment.
A burn ban has been in effect since early October, as per regulations by the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Outside burns are not to be allowed unless held 100 feet from the woods line.
“Even burning in a barrel is dangerous right now,” said Robinson.
Under the burn ban, burns prohibited may include leaves or debris, grass, crops, or forest areas, campfires or bonfires and open-pit cooking.
Under the ban, burning cannot take place between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., unless blazes are located a proper distance from the woods line.
The ban normally goes into effect during the fall months, as dead leaves can fuel even small blazes quickly.
The Eubank Volunteer Fire Department responded Monday to the scene to contain the blaze.
Robinson pointed out the death of a Rockcastle County man who sustained burns over 95 percent of his body last week after a debris fire grew out of control.
64-year-old Robert Childress was found last Wednesday outside his home in Mount Vernon after a Kentucky Division of Forestry fire crew was dispatched to the property to contain a brush fire spotted from the air by a reconnaissance flight, according to media reports.
Childress was apparently was trying to contain the fire, which was classified as a debris burn by the forest service. He later died from his injuries at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
“We lost a Rockcastle County man last week, so we want people to know how dangerous this can be,” Robinson said.
Somerset-Pulaski County EMS also responded to Monday’s incident.