Fire destroys Tillman Funeral Home

Ashley Hunter
ECB Publishing, Inc.

The morning of Friday, May 10, began with smoke and ash as firefighters from the Jefferson County Fire Rescue (JCFR) and the Monticello Volunteer Fire Department (MCFD) attempted to save one of Monticello's funeral parlors.
At 7:44 a.m., Jefferson County dispatch informed JCFR of reports that Tillman Funeral Home, located on East York Street, was on fire.
JCFR firefighters arrived on scene at 7:47 a.m.
JCFR Chief Derrick Burrus was first on scene, reporting that the single-story structure was showing obvious signs of a fire, as smoke was (at that time) pouring out of the building's eaves.
Monticello volunteers were paged in order to provide assistance.
After connecting to a hydrant across the street, firefighters stretched two water lines across the street and made entry into the establishment through the building's front door.
Tillman Funeral Home staff were on scene in order to unlock the front door.
After making entry into the establishment, the source of the fire was located and determined to be a burning in the attic of the funeral parlor.
Firefighter crews attempted to vent the attic while others helped Tillman staff remove property and contents from within the parlor.
After 500 gallons of water, the fire was eventually considered controlled and then extinguished by 9:14 p.m.
After the scene was safe, an investigation was conducted into the cause of the fire, with it being determined that the electrical fire had started in the restroom and had been caused by an exhaust fan.
The State Fire Marshall was advised of the fire before the scene was released to the owners.
According to the report provided by the JCFR, There is an estimated $50,000 in property damage and $15,000 in content damage.
The report also states that the fire detector did not alert occupants to the fire.
It is reported that the building was between 75-100 percent damaged by the Friday morning fire.
Despite the fire, Tillman Funeral Home staff say that they have no plans to discontinue their service to the Monticello and Jefferson County community.
Since 1931, Tillman Funeral Home has provided care to those in times of grief and pain, and one of Tillman Funeral Home's licensed funeral directors, Jamarien Moore, expresses gratitude towards the Monticello community for the prayers and support offered to the 88-year-old Monticello business.
“We are grateful for all the efforts to support us and we look forward to continuing to provide quality care,” said Moore to an ECB Publishing, Inc. reporter on Monday, May 13.
Due to the damage to the funeral parlor, Tillman's is currently operating out of the Greater Fellowship Missionary Baptist church building, which is located on Cypress Street, in Monticello.
The parlor can still be reached at their phone line at (850) 997-5553.
Responding firefighters from Monticello Volunteer Fire Department and the Jefferson County Fire Rescue were: Captain Dexter Walker,Cameron Allen, Joe Kacur, Nick Buzbee, Patrick Titus, Holly Megna, Brian Hausherr, Chief Derrick Burrus, Mike Long, Joe Lancolos, John Wilkerson and Zef Fessenden.