By CHRISTIN COYNE
Firefighters were able to save much of a two-story Whitt-area house and property inside after a cooking fire ignited a portion of the home early Monday afternoon.
Leona Payton said she was heating grease to start preparing supper for her family and briefly left her cooking unattended while going to the bathroom.
When she returned she found flames about a foot-and-a-half high and attempted to put cornstarch and flour on it, Payton said. However, the fire traveled up the wall, and Payton, who has asthma, said she realized she needed to get out of the house.
Payton removed a cat and several dogs from the home and called the fire department.
While waiting for firefighters at the end of the driveway in the 4700 block of Lone Star Road, several people stopped to find out what was going on and if they could help.
The Good Samaritans turned on the water and attempted to battle the fire, according to Payton, who said they also rescued her 18-year-old dog that she’d forgotten inside the house, a family pet that has trouble walking.
Peaster was the first department on scene and found the kitchen fully involved, Peaster VFD Battalion Chief Leo Scott said.
Firefighters made an interior attack on the fire and, despite the challenges posed by the age of the house and difficulty accessing the fire in some areas due to several add-ons, did a good job extinguishing the fire, Parker County Assistant Fire Marshal Frank Watson said.
Firefighters from Adell-Whitt, Poolville, Springtown, Cool-Garner, Salt Creek and Boonsville responded to the fire, using tankers to transport water to the scene.
Though the kitchen was a total loss, the fire traveled through the attic and there was significant smoke and water damage throughout the home, according to Watson, some property inside was saved.
The home was not insured and the Red Cross was contacted, Watson said.
Payton said six adults lived at the house.
Her fiance, Robert Fankboner, reportedly purchased the home in the mid-1990s after a fire destroyed the inside.
He gutted the home and started from scratch, Payton said.
Firefighters were busy mid-afternoon Monday removing furniture and other salvaged items from the house.