NEWTON, Ala. (WDHN) — The Newton Volunteer Fire Department and other surrounding agencies got the call for a structure fire at a home on Killebrew street in Newton Wednesday night.
Newton’s Fire Chief Edward Snow was the first to arrive on the scene after realizing he could see some flames and heavy smoke from his home across the street.
“(I) went to the residence and made entry found a wife in the den area screaming to get her husband tried to make entry to where he was at and was unable to due to not having the proper equipment,” Snow said.
Several local volunteer fire departments battled the heavy smoke and were able to rescue Mrs. Harden. But for Mr. Harden, Chief Snow says he had a hard time getting to him but after being located he was pronounced dead on the scene from smoke inhalation.
A number of years ago, Harden worked at Fort Rucker for nearly 60 years and he served as a Dale County commissioner. Commission chairman Steve McKinnon said he was a hard-working individual.
“I never seen him raise his voice at anybody I never saw him talk down to anybody he was always friendly and cordial he was just a good man,” McKinnon said. “A good man to be around he worked hard on the commission and constituents while he was there.”
Harden was also a staple in the community. Residents frequently visited his gun shop located behind his residence.
“He was very informative with guns he had a large clientele they drove from everywhere dealing with him and he had a clientele of people that you don’t normally see, but they were professional people and all and they dealt with Mr. Harden,” McKinnon said.
The fire is still under investigation by the state fire marshal. Residents of Newton, Mr. Snow, and Mr. McKinnon are all sending their prayers to his family members during this difficult time.