July 25, 2007 Edition

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Hoxie fire still under investigation

A fire last Tuesday night that destroyed the Furniture and Appliances Now building, located on Highway 67B in Hoxie and injured two area firefighters, is still under investigation.

The original call went out around 9 p.m., and six fire departments including Hoxie, Walnut Ridge, Black Rock, Sedgwick, Portia and Imboden responded to the call.

The building and all contents were a total loss.

The injured firefighters were taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

William E. "Billy" Blair, a member of the Hoxie Fire Department, was injured when he fell from a ladder. He is doing well according to Hoxie Fire Chief Will Tate, but will not return to work until next week, due to injuries sustained in the fall.

In addition, John Simpkins, a member of the Sedgwick VFD, was transported to LMH for heat exhaustion.

Many other emergency personnel also responded to the scene.

The fire came just weeks before FAN was set to move to its new location on Highway 67B in Walnut Ridge. After 11 years at the Hoxie location, the business was making the move to better serve the citizens of Lawrence County with a larger facility, according to a company spokesperson. A temporary office will be opened at the new location to serve local customers until the new building is complete.

"We still don't have anything official [on the investigation]," said Tate, adding that a fire investigator from the insurance company has already been to the site, and will report his findings within the next week or two.

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