A house fire at 114 Hillcrest Lane on the outskirts of Mena required the attention of several emergency responders Tuesday, June 28, at approximately 11:30 a.m. when it caught fire. The home, near the shore of Hillcrest Lake, is owned by Teresa Davis. The cause is not known at this time.
Valerian Snow was in the kitchen of the house across the way, assisting Jeanmarie Zirger, when he saw the fire.
“I was in my trailer when I heard all this yelling,” Suzanne Snow said.
The panicked calls for help led Suzanne to rush down the drive to the scene. Valerian used Suzanne’s phone to call 9-1-1 after getting Davis to safety. Suzanne, meanwhile, evacuated Jeanmarie to the Hillcrest Church parking lot directly across U.S. Highway 71.
Several firefighters in their own vehicles, along with firetrucks from Mena, Dallas Valley, Ink and Acorn arrived. The Polk County Sheriff’s Department and Southwest EMS were also on-hand.
The drive to Davis’ house is neither wide enough, nor has enough clearance for emergency vehicles to get within proximity. The residence was also too distant for hoses to adequately reach, requiring the tankers to take turns unloading water into a reservoir known as a drop tank before the trucks rushed off to the nearest fire hydrant to refill, approximately 1.5 miles distant, just beyond the entrance to Tapley Park.
Suzanne said, “She’s homeless now. She has nobody in her life.”
Although Davis made it out, to add injury to loss, her dog did not. Medics did have to go down and assist Davis, but she sustained no physical injuries. The Snow’s said she is still in shock.
Due to Davis’ health, Suzanne did not believe Davis was outside burning anything, such as brush.
There are several acres of trees surrounding Hillcrest Lake and spreading across the foot of forested mountains and plenty of pastures and fields. Several tall pine trees between the house and the building, acted as both a barrier and potential fuel to what once housed Zirger’s business, Mena Scooters. The building is now The Welcoming Circle the organization. Snow acknowledged that along with paint and supplies housed in the building, it is probably very combustible.
Other immediately surrounding businesses include RCI Construction, Mena Metal, and Hillcrest Baptist Church located directly across Hwy. 71 from Davis’ drive. There are few more houses beyond the levy that crosses Hillcrest Lake.
Suzanne and other lake residents praised the fire departments for their quick response. “I’m so glad they got here before it spread,” Suzanne said.