A Debris Burn Gets Out of Control in Catoosa County

It started out as a perfectly legal small burn by a homeowner with a burn permit in Catoosa County.

But in the moments it took homeowner Frank Sigona to step inside and get a drink of water, the fire began spreading up the hill.

Hours later and it had consumed fourteen acres.

The hill on Cherokee Valley Road just a mile off East Brainerd Road probably looks familiar.

The reason? It is ground zero of the tornado outbreak of 2011.

Catoosa County Fire Chief Chuck Arnold spoke with News 12 on the property that was still burning with tall flames at 7 pm Sunday evening.

"Around 1600, we got a call out on a brush fire on Cherokee Valley Road in Catoosa County," Arnold said.  "We arrived on the scene approximtely 1630.  It had approximately 5 to 10 acres and it was in what we call blow down which is basically tornado damage."

No homes were burned and fire fighters have worked tirelessly to contain it.

The land with all the loose brush from the tornadoes was primed for a fire.

"All this up here was damaged," Arnold explained as he pointed to bent trees still stripped of leaves from the tornadoes four years ago.  "It was from the tornado and since it was damaged like that it actually helped clean the woods up. That’s mothers nature way of cleaning the woods up, fire."

The homeowner was home during the tornadoes of 2011 and his house receive significant damage from those storms.

Sigona didn’t want to speak on camera but he told News 12 he is just thankful noone was hurt and thankful he obtained a permit for the burn.

Categories: Local News

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