Thursday, August 30, 2007
Firemen fight 280-acre blaze
By SUE WATSON
A 280-acre woods fire on Puppy Hill and Bethlehem roads Friday was fought for five hours by numerous fire departments, according to Ken Holbrook, chief of the Holly Springs Fire Department.
“All resources, including manpower, were strained,” he said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said.
Turning out to help control the fire and protect homes and structures were firefighters and equipment from Holly Springs and Lafayette County departments, the DeSoto County helicopter, and the rural departments of Cayce, Watson, Victoria, Potts Camp, Red Banks and Waterford, he said.
“Many structures were endangered and one home (firefighters did not know if it was inhabited) was destroyed,” Holbrook said. “If you know firefighters, you better go thank them, because most of those turning out to the fire were volunteer firefighters. Those who can should become volunteers to help protect their own property.
“The volunteers, including ambulance service workers on standby at the scene need to be applauded for the work they did,” Holbrook said.
Some firefighters suffered heat stress due to the high temperature (at 100 degrees Fahrenheit) Friday and due to the intense heat from the blazes, he said.
Many resources were available Friday including the emergency managers from Marshall and Lafayette counties and deputies with the Marshall County Sheriff’s office.
Holbrook commended emergency management directors including Hugh Hollowell with Marshall County.
State forestry workers brought in their heavy equipment - bulldozers, plows and backfire torches - to help contain the fire, Holbrook said.
The firefight was a water-shuttle operation, he said.
Although structure protection is the main job of fire departments, Holbrook said firemen are also trained in backfire techniques.
Holbrook said fire departments can use more help and a person can volunteer without becoming a combat firefighter.
“There are other things than being the man at the hose,” Holbrook said. “There are many auxiliary roles a person can play - computer work, entering reports as examples,” he said. “Our firefighters are to be applauded to be able to stand their ground the way they did the other day.”
Other calls for the week ending August 27 included – 14 medical assistance calls; one structure fire; three grass fires (including one above); two motor vehicle accident calls - one a four-vehicle accident on Highway 78 near the West Holly Springs Exit; two rescue calls to assist other departments - one vehicle accident requiring extrication; two fire alarm calls; one electrical fire; and one emergency aircraft landing at the Holly Springs Airport.
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