By John L. Ross/Staff Writer
At least three brush fires swept through Knox County Monday, as warm air, dry conditions and a steady breeze continue to make the Tri-County region highly susceptible to damaging fires.
One of Monday’s fires sent a man to the hospital, suffering from smoke inhalation.
The first blaze happened on KY 11 south, halfway between the communities of Gausdale and King up the hill from Matlock Hollow Road.
“We’ve been up here a few times before,” said Bill Oxendine, fire chief of the Little Poplar Creek Fire Department.
While this fire remains under investigation, Oxendine feels the cause is likely arson. “Most of them are these days,” he said. Already more than two dozen fires have raged throughout Knox County during the current fire season, which ends Dec. 15.
Monday afternoon’s fire consumed at least a half dozen acres before it was able to be contained. One property was heavily scorched, and a storage building was burned, but the home of Danny Carpenter, who resides on the property, was spared. Carpenter was not home at the time of the fire.
The call came in about 2:45 p.m.
“With the wind blowing, and it’s so dry and hot, if you put even one cigarette out it could be bad,” Oxendine said.
Another brush fire broke out early Monday evening near Sandy Branch and Lick Branch in the Flat Lick community. That call came in about 7:15 p.m.
According to East Knox Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bobby Valentine, there are two suspects in that fire.
“It was set intentionally,” he said. “But I can’t go any further with that.”
According to Valentine, two brothers got to the scene first and battled the blaze, and they may have helped it from getting worse.
“One of them boys was treated for smoke inhalation,” he said. That man was taken by ambulance to Knox County Hospital, he said.
“It’s great that we have suspects,” Valentine said. “You don’t catch them too easily.”
A third blaze started up in the Mud Lick area earlier in the day, according to Valentine. There wasn’t much damage to property, but the investigation into a cause for that fire continues.
Fire crews for the Kentucky Division of Forestry came to two of the three fires to assist.