Family, cats safe after fire

  • Firefighter Heather Zorn carries one of Josh and Briana Johnson’s cats from the fire damaged home.

Lint in a dryer is being blamed for a fire that has displaced a Barnwell family.

Firefighters from the Barnwell Rural, Hilda and Long Branch fire departments responded to 157 Freedom Road for a mobile home fire on Sunday, Sept. 17 around 11 a.m.

Barnwell Rural Fire Chief Jessie Elmore said the dryer had been left running while the family was away. The fire started due to lint in the dryer vent. Fire shot out the vent and spread up the outer wall where it caught the siding on fire and spread to the attic through the eaves, he said.

Elmore reminds people to "clean the lint out of your dryer every time you dry clothes and periodically check the vent for lint."

Josh and Briana Johnson were renting the home from Brenda McLaughlin. However, neither the couple nor their three children were home at the time of the fire. The family's two cats were home, but were safely located and reunited with the family after the fire was extinguished.

While heat and fire damage was minimal and limited mostly to the attic area, the house is unlivable, said Elmore. The Red Cross is assisting the family.

The family says they are grateful no one was hurt. They are also appreciative to the firefighters who extinguished the fire before it destroyed the home.

Anyone interested in finding out how to help the family can contact Josh or Briana Johnson on Facebook.