Two Burning Battles at Hopkins Co. Field Fire


Battles are fought every day by you, your family, friends, neighbors, and firefighters too.

As smoke filled the air, south of Madisonville, it’s clear a battle is on. It covered 100 acres and it proved to be a challenge for first responders.

But a battle for one woman watching burns just as bright.

It started near Arrow Salvage yard on Highway 62 near Saint Charles, Ky. Hopkins County Sheriff’s Deputies shut down part of the highway for about an hour while firefighters rushed to the scene.

Some battles aren’t as obvious as the forest fire, and Ladonna Lee will be the first to say it.

“I saw a bunch of hard working firemen and fire ladies,” she describes, pointing to the large swath of charred earth, “working really hard to keep it contained.”

Firefighters worked for hours to control the brush fire. They used bulldozers to cut a line to aid their efforts in controlling the fire amid the high wind.

St. Charles Fire Chief, Thomas Franklin says it’s not often his department responds to a fire so large. He says it’s been at least 5 years since one this size.

That’s why Lee was there to take pictures to remember. The thought of all those woods gone forever is real.

The thought her life could be gone is real, too.

“I’ve got lots of pictures with me and my kids because you don’t know what next year is going to bring.”

She was never in danger by the fire. She lives 10 miles east in White Plains. But the battle unfolding in front of her pales to the one she fights in her body.

Breast cancer took hold seven months ago. That’s why there’s pictures.

“He was sitting there doing his job and he’s a real good guy,” Lee says showing an image of a St. Charles firefighter she took a few minutes ago, who happens to be a family friend.

Some homes along Hwy. 62 were evacuated as a precaution. Franklin says wind caused the fire to spread rapidly. “It jumped across the road and right on up the hill on the other side.”

No injuries or damage was reported to firefighters.

Seven departments responded to the brush fire. Firefighters are unsure what started this, but given the warm weather and dry wooded area it’s not hard for Franklin to understand how it could have happened.

“Sunshine with the wind, a piece of glass laying over a leaf could ignite it,” Franklin says.

Simple as that.

Like the photos through the lens of her phone. Lee makes memories for better or worse.

She lives her life looking forward, and thinking positive. “Come spring time it’ll grow out really pretty, fresh new grass,” she says.

Because there’s always a battle to win.

Always something to remember.

“It’s not going to get me down, because God’s going to take care of me.”

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