RED OAK – A early morning structure fire Friday displaced five residents from their single story brick home. Firefighters from around the area were dispatched to the 1900 block of Narrow Lane at 1:54 a.m.

“We received a call for a structure fire. Before we got there, dispatch was updating and telling us that the homeowners were seeing heavy smoke and flames. Upon arrival, our initial engine company saw heavy smoke and fire coming out of the roof above the garage area,” Red Oak Fire Chief Eric Thompson said, saying that all occupants – two adults and three children – were outside.

“The homeowner, the dad, woke up to popping and sounds up in his attic. He woke his wife up and asked her if she smelled some smoke. She said yes and then they got the kids out. When they got outside, that is when they saw how much the fire had already advanced,” Thompson said, saying the smoke detectors in the house did not activate because the fire was above them – and the smoke, heat and fire were rising. The interior conditions were clear when the residents made their exit.

A primary search was conducted; however, a secondary one wasn’t because there was too much fire in the structure, Thompson said, saying that after the primary search firefighters fought a defensive type of fire from the outside.

“It was a very narrow street. It was a dead end road and there were no fire hydrants on that road. Then the house sits way off and there is a small narrow dirt driveway that kind of goes off into a wooded area, so access was a big problem,” Thompson said.

“We did have to use tankers. We had tankers from Ferris and Ovilla help us and they shuttled water.

Initially we were fighting it with the tank water in our engines and we ran out of water. Then when the tankers arrived, we were able to establish a constant water flow.”

Thompson said firefighters also were limited on the number of hoses line that could be used since water had to be shuttled in, limiting the available options.

Ovilla also provided a rehab unit for firefighters, with the Waxahachie and Lancaster fire departments each providing an engine and the Glenn Heights Fire Department filling in at the central fire station while crews were out on the call.

The fire burned the electrical line away from the house so there was an added danger of a live wire on the ground, with TXU dispatched to the scene to address the issue. The American Red Cross also responded to the scene to provide assistance to the displaced residents.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Ellis County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Red Oak fire marshal. Since the structure was a total loss and with the extent of the damage, it will be difficult to pinpoint an exact cause, Thompson said, saying the fire ran the entire length of the attic.

Units cleared the scene at about 9 a.m.

Contact Andrew at or 469-517-1458.