Investigation Into Jericho fire response - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Investigation Into Jericho fire response

A knocked over, tinsel covered mail box and charred wood are all that remain of a burnt Jericho, Arkansas house. When it went up in flames Thursday afternoon, Robert Simmons was stuck in his wheelchair inside the home.

Annie Bell Montgomery could do little but watch as neighbors tried to get into the burning house.

"I said 'you need some help' and he said 'yes ma'am the house on fire and Mr. Mickey's in here,'" she said.

Witnesses said the Jericho Volunteer Fire Department never showed up, so they had to wait for Marion firefighters to arrive.

Jericho Mayor Helen Adams said no one was able to reach the volunteer fire chief.

"I had the police chief to call him.  "We've been calling him leaving messages and he never returned our call," she said.

Mayor Adams said she hasn't been happy with chief John Hamlin's performance for a while.

"That's been going on for the last month," she said. "I call his job and leave messages and he never returns my calls."

Residents like Montgomery echo the discontent with a volunteer department.

"I had a brush fire back out here about 2 or 3 years ago," she said. "I had to call Marion because they wasn't no where around. The fire chief was fishing I think they said."

Mayor Adams said that was unacceptable then, and things have only gotten worse.

Action News 5's attempts to contact John Hamlin Friday were not successful.

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