Franklin families will remember flood and fire

Monday, May 3, 2010 at 7:40pm

It will be some time before those affected by the storms that hit Middle Tennessee, be they at Franklin's Fieldstone Farms or in field of stone, are at peace.

The flood will be remembered for decades, but for the family of James Byrd, it will also be remembered for the fire.

In the middle of the flood, Byrd and two of his Fieldstone Farms neighbors, were hit by a devastating fire.

According to Byrd, who lives on Burlington Pass, the water heater in his neighbor’s home exploded with such force it blew the garage doors across the street and engulfed that home in flames. Today. nothing stands but the brick facade of that house and the charred remains of floor joists and a minivan left in the garage.

The fire then spread to Byrd's house, gutting the majority of the second floor and causing significant damage to the first.

A third home saw minor fire damage to its aluminum siding.

When the fire broke out, most residents of the subdivision had been evacuated due to rising floodwaters.

Byrd, along with his wife and children, were among those who had left. He said relatives visiting from North Carolina had stayed behind to look after the house. Byrd said they got out safely, and had they not been there he suspects he would have nothing to salvage.

"Who knows how many homes on this block would have burned if they hadn't been here,” he said.

Byrd also commended the Franklin Fire Department for a quick response.

Tom Paden, president of the Fieldstone Farms Homeowners Association, said members of the association have already started a food and clothing drive for the families affected by the fire. All of this while untold numbers of them are still cleaning up after their homes were hit with at least two feet of floodwater.

According to Paden, there are 2,115 homes in the 850-acre subdivision. When asked how many were hit by the rising waters, he replied "Alot. I don't know yet. But morale is high and we have a great community here. We are all pulling together."

Paden, along with other residents, were assisting Franklin police and fire officials by directing traffic in the subdivision and doing their best to keep "sightseers" out so the cleanup could begin.

While cleanup was starting there, it had yet to begin just a few blocks away at the Rest Haven Cemetery and the Franklin City Cemetery.

Rest Haven Cemetery is where almost six months ago an unknown Confederate soldier from the 1864 Battle of Franklin was laid to rest after his remains were discovered during a construction project. Today, his grave and those of many others who fought in that battle are now under putrid water — a few feet in depth in some spots — that smells of sewage.

1 Comment on this post:

By: govskeptic on 5/4/10 at 12:48

Like to hear a followup story on this exploding water heater.
What precautions can one take to avoid it in any circumstance? Was it an electric or gas water heater?
Best to all in all the counties.