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Impassable Road Thwarts First Responder Rescue Attempt

Impassable Road Thwarts First Responder Rescue Attempt

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Peoria Journal Star via YellowBrix

March 22, 2010

LEWISTOWN — Lewistown Fire Chief John Spotloe said an inaccessible road thwarted firefighters who responded to a barn fire Wednesday.

“When we turned onto Otto Road we were met with a big orange sign which said ‘Road Closed,’ " Spotloe said after fire destroyed a barn at the Jewel Bucy residence, 7601 N. Otto Road.

Jewel and Janis Bucy lost their barn, a vintage car, and more – building materials that were intended to help them rebuild a home that had been damaged by a tornado.

Spotloe said his department, and all other emergency services in Fulton County, are obtaining daily lists of roads closed and in disrepair from Sheriff Jeff Standard’s office. “We are keeping up with that daily,” Spotloe said.

During Wednesday’s fire, the chief said, the Ipava Fire Department was called for backup help and then called again, when thoughts turned to an alternate way into the Bucy residence.

“We were about half a mile from the residence and couldn’t get to the fire,” said a frustrated Spotloe.

The road was completely inaccessible and the Bucys had been using a 4-wheeler to travel between their home and where their cars were parked, he said.

“Thankfully, no one was hurt and the home was not affected in this case,” Spotloe said.

“We buried an Expedition (Ford vehicle) in the mud on Cleer Road,” says Spotloe of their efforts which then included sending a firefighter in a 4-wheeler to the residence to speak to Bucy and assess the situation.

“By then, the barn was gone, the fire was contained, and the home was not in danger,” reports Spotloe.

Spotloe says the wet summer of 2009 and cold and snowy winter are putting even oil and chip roads at risk of falling apart.

“We may have patients in the back of pickup trucks before this is over,” says Spotloe of his department’s emergency situations.

Spotloe asks rural residents to be especially thoughtful when any emergency situation arises this spring.

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