Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

April 8, 2010

5 die in Metcalfe County fire

SULPHUR WELL — A fire that destroyed a Metcalfe County home, killing five and hospitalizing nine at about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday morning, is still being investigated by Kentucky State Police, including arson investigators from two posts of the KSP and the State Fire Marshal’s office.

According to a report by the KSP, the Columbia post received a call from Edmonton dispatch about a house fire at 3120 Sulphur Wells-Knob Lick Road in Edmonton. When units from the North Metcalfe Volunteer Fire Department, Edmonton Fire Department and Hiseville Fire Department from Barren County responded, the home was still too hot to enter, according to the report.

Rhonda and Pat Ennis, relatives of the family who were at the scene, said they had been told that Josh Posey was the first resident to smell smoke and found the fire in another room. After he saw the fire he broke a bedroom window to get everyone out, Rhonda said. She also said Posey’s wife, Bonnie, was on fire so he attempted to get her out first along with their young children.

“It’s just like it’s not real,” Rhonda Ennis said. “We just saw them in town [earlier in the week], and it just hasn’t hit us.”

The Ennises and another family member, Diane Garmon, identified 11 of the residents of the home: Junior Garmon, 62, and Johnita Garmon, 42, owners of the residence, their daughters Bonnie Posey, Valissa Garmon, 12, and Melanie Harper, about 26; Bonnie’s husband, Josh, and children Chase, 2, Jacklyn, 3, and Mason, 1; and Tyler, 17, and Brian Perry, about 21, reportedly also sons of Junior. Trevor Phillips of the Phillips IGA Market in Hiseville, that will be accepting donations of clothes and other necessities for the family, said Harper’s children Adrian, 1, and Tanner, 5, were also there, but were not seriously injured. 

Junior Garmon and Bonnie Posey were flown to the University of Louisville Hospital, where Junior Garmon was treated and released. Bonnie was admitted and is currently in critical condition, according to hospital officials.

Diane Garmon said Posey was taken into emergency surgery late Wednesday and is reportedly worse than the family had initially been told.

State police have not released or confirmed any of the names of the victims or occupants of the home. According to the KSP, seven individuals were taken to T.J. Samson Community Hospital, and were all treated and released. KSP also reported that after a subsequent search of the residence, five individuals were found dead.

Rhonda Ennis identified the deceased as Valissa, Harper, Chase, Jacklyn and Mason.

Each of the victims was sent to the Louisville Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy that will be conducted on Thursday. The names of the victims will be officially confirmed following the autopsy once positive identification is determined, the KSP report said.

According to Ennis, Johnita refused treatment for smoke inhalation so she could be with her husband and daughter in Louisville. The Garmons and the other family members that were released are staying with family in Glasgow, Ennis said.

They were a close family, the Ennises said, who were protective of each other.

“They were just a loving, caring, close-knit family. They were well-known in this town and they just were very close,” Rhonda Ennis said. “We’re thankful that everyone else is okay.”

Chris Huffman, the director of pupil personnel at Metcalfe County Schools, was principal of Metcalfe County High School when Brian and Tyler Perry were attending and said they were normal high schoolers.

“They were good kids, very personable, easy to get along with, just average high school kids,” Huffman said.

He has also known the Garmons for many years as being loving and supportive people.

“Johnita and Junior cared deeply about all their kids and they would give them all the support they needed,” he said.

Valissa was a sixth-grader at Metcalfe Middle School and one of the younger children was in pre-school in Metcalfe County as well.

The cause and the origin of the fire has not been determined. A fire marshal spokesman said it would be several hours before any information was available regarding the cause.

Sammi Alexander was on the scene as well and said she didn’t think it was arson. Her father is Junior Garmon’s cousin and she lives down the road from the residence. She said the trailers were “run down.”

“I can’t imagine why someone would do this to them, they were a nice family, and just good people,” Alexander said.

“We just ask everyone to please pray for this family,” Rhonda Ennis said. “It’s so much to deal with, please pray.”

The Metcalfe County Sheriff’s Department and county emergency management also assisted at the scene.

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