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Fire claims deejay, family's home
Flames come out of the roof of a house belonging to local dejay Lissette “L’Boogie” Flores early Monday morning as firefighters try to get access. - photo by Photo by Lewis Levine
Local radio personality and entrepreneur, Lissette Flores, aka DJ L’ Boogie, husband Frank ‘Nitty’ Tolbert and his 4-year-old son, Zamir Smiley, were lucky to have escaped a fire that broke out near 2 a.m. Monday morning at their Fleming residence.
Flores is a deejay for Hinesville’s hip-hop radio station WOAH 106.3FM.
The fire destroyed the single family dwelling, despite the attempts of volunteer firefighters from Fleming, Midway, Eastern District and Lake George.
According to dispatch records the first units were on the scene at 2:08 a.m. Flores, along with friends and family who came out when they heard the news, could only stand by and watch as the fire, trapped within the attic space of the mobile home, caused most of the roof to collapse into the dwelling. Flores said firefighters were there until daybreak.
Flores said she was sleeping in her room when she was awakened by smoke and security alarms. She rushed into the kitchen and noticed a wave of flames on the stove shooting up.
“The smoke was thick, it was horrific,” she said. “I can see how they say the smoke can kill you because it was just terrible.”
Flores bolted for the other side of the house to reach her crying stepson and ran him out to safety. Once outside she looked around and couldn’t find her husband so she ran back in to search for him.
Tolbert had fallen asleep on the couch in the couple’s living room while watching television.
“I came back in the house and got him,” Flores said. “He tried to put out the fire, but I told him let’s go because the smoke was so bad.”
Liberty County Fire Coordinator and Investigator James Ashdown was called in Monday morning and said his investigation led to the conclusion it was an accident.
“The actual cause of the fire was unattended cooking,” he said. “The subject started to cook, left the room, eventually feel asleep and left the grease he was heating up to fry the chicken on the stove. The grease fire went up the vent of the range hood.
“When the fire department got here the fire was in the attic and there was nothing they could do to get to the attic. It’s almost like a small void in there without a true access point.”
Ashdown said the fire departments were quick to put out the kitchen fire but, battling the blaze in the attic was difficult.
Flores, who is involved in charitable community events, said the experience has given her a new cause. She said she admires the volunteer firefighters who tried to save her home, but said she and other rural residents deserve more.
“Unfortunately it’s because of the economy,” she said. “And I say that because we have volunteer fire departments here in Fleming and they weren’t able to come in to the house at that time. We had to call Midway Fire Department and by the time they were able to come we were all just sitting there watching the house burn. But you have to understand, you know, jobs like that, volunteers are OK, but we need a real fire station.”
Flores said feels blessed knowing no one was injured and seeing the quick outpouring from friends and neighbors.
“I am definitely blessed,” she said fighting back tears. “I picked up the phone and made one phone call and it was like everybody was here.”
GeoVista Federal Credit Union in Hinesville and Fort Stewart has an account set to accept donations for Flores and her family. Folks making donations should make sure to mention the Lissette Flores Fund. For more information, call 368-2477.
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