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Fire destroys Statesboro familys home
Firefighters battle a residential blaze on Oakfield Drive off of Lakeview Road Thursday evening. Witnesses at the scene reported hearing at least two explosions as the fire began, and it's believed that oxygen tanks may have been the source of the explosions. - photo by EDDIE LEDBETTER/staff

A Statesboro family lost a home Thursday night to a fire that started in the garage.

Both Statesboro and Bulloch County firefighters responded to the blaze around 6:30 p.m. in the Oakfield Subdivision off Lakeview Road, Statesboro Fire Chief Tim Grams said.

The fire destroyed the home, which belonged to Wayne and Keri Sircy and their three children, according to reports.

The fire occurred when someone cranked a motorcycle in the garage and left it running to warm up, Grams said. The heat from the exhaust caused nearby oxygen tanks, stored for a family member's use for health reasons, to explode.

The tanks began releasing oxygen as they heated, and the leaked oxygen fed the flames.

"In an oxygen-rich environment, it doesn't take long to get hot quickly," Grams said.

Both the Statesboro and Bulloch County fire departments worked together to extinguish the blaze, which consumed the home. The house was fully engulfed upon firefighters' arrival, and witnesses reported hearing the multiple explosions as the oxygen tanks blew.

"It was a very challenging fire," Grams said.

Everyone in the home escaped unharmed, but a Statesboro firefighter was taken to the hospital after debris fell on his head, Grams said. The firefighter was treated and released.

Firefighters were able to save a few family treasures such as photographs, but the home was a total loss, Grams said.

Volunteer members of the American Red Cross Bulloch County Disaster Action Team responded to the fire, where "volunteers provided comfort kits, stuffed animals for the children, emergency funds for food, clothing shoes and shelter," said Esther Sheppard, the development manager for the American Red Cross Southeast Georgia Chapter.

The Statesboro Fire Department Café was also on hand to assist the victims and firefighters at the scene.

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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