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Butler woman dies in house fire

Reflecting on the complete loss of his home at 766 Greer Road in Trade to a fire last week, Edward Greer, 75, sits in his barn that was spared by the flames. Greer and his brother Earl were on their way home as firefighters were battling the flames. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

Johnson County volunteer firefighters have been busy over the past few weeks responding to several structure fires in the region. Sadly most home fires in the area end up being total losses, often associated with the region’s geography. Distance and response time of local fire departments with volunteers who often work secularly during a call is a concern that many local first responders would like to see changed.

A house fire in Butler, TN, which took a woman’s life, is the latest addition to the list of homes burning to the ground in recent weeks throughout Johnson County.
According to a press release, on April 10, 2021, at approximately 6:30 p.m., the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and local volunteer fire departments were dispatched to George Henry Day Rd. about a structure fire.

The release stated that “upon arrival of the officer, the structure was found to be fully engulfed. It was later determined that a subject had been inside the residence and was unable to escape. This structure fire is still under investigation of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.” The victim, Judy Weeks, 62, was identified by her brother Ricky Bradshaw as the woman found in the torched camper located at 547 George Henry Day Rd. in Butler, TN. Bradshaw told The Tomahawk that his sister’s boyfriend stepped out to get some things from the store before the fire started.

“I just have some concerns about the circumstances surrounding this fire,” Bradshaw said.

According to Dry Run Fire Chief Ray Lunceford, three of his units and an EMT truck were first at the scene.

“We were on route as soon as we heard the call,” Lunceford said. “By the time we arrived, the home was fully engulfed.”

Lunceford added that first responders from nearby departments also assisted, totaling eight trucks and nearly two dozen personnel at the scene. With the assistance of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement has not given any more details about the incident, which they say is still under investigation.

It was just days before the Butler fatal fire that another home suffered a complete loss. Fortunately, no one was home at the time; however, the two-story family home at 766 Greer Road in Trade TN had no chance of being saved from the flames. Edward Greer, 75, and his brother Earl were returning home when they noticed the smoke rising from around the bend.

“It was shocking to see our home gone when we got back,” Edward said. “It was hard to believe that the whole place was burned to the ground.”

Edward said he was born in that house and is now staying with some friends while the Red Cross assists him with the loss. Anyone interested in helping, please call (385) 336-0519. Residents are urged to support their local volunteer fire departments and continue to ask their local government officials for more support with new fire fighting apparatus, gear, and the consideration of full-time-staffed stations around the region.