Dec. 13--DANVILLE -- Fire swept through Danville Volunteer Fire Department's Station 2 on Alabama 157 early Friday and destroyed the building and equipment.
"It will be a total loss," said Danville Capt. Jason Fields. "It's a metal structure, but the whole thing will have to come down."
Fields said when he and other Danville firefighters first arrived on the scene after being dispatched at 6:42 a.m., they were met with heavy smoke and flames pouring out of the three-bay, 60-foot by 160-foot structure.
"We couldn't have made it without the help of our neighboring departments," he said. "We relied on our brothers throughout Morgan County and surrounding counties to come to our aid, and they did that full force."
Firefighters came from Massey, Punkin Center, Neel, Oak Ridge, Falkville and Flint. The Hartselle City Fire Department sent a ladder company, and firefighters from Battleground in Cullman County and Speake in Lawrence County answered the call to 1030 Alabama 157.
Bill Pettey, who is in his 46th year as fire chief at Trinity, also came.
"I went to see if there was anything I could do to help," Pettey said, "but they had it pretty well covered. They probably had 15 fire trucks out there. It is a tragic loss, but they had insurance and they'll recover. It will just take them time to build back."
Fields said there is no water line near the station large enough to support a 6-inch hydrant.
"We have a 3,500-gallon tanker, the second truck in," he said. "We used it until the other firefighters laid a supply line from a 6-inch hydrant at Gregg's Grocery and stretched it a mile down the highway to the station. They pumped water from their engines and relayed it to us. "
Fields said Massey came with a 4,000-gallon tanker and that Battleground also brought a tanker.
Officials closed Alabama 157 from Hampton Road to Alabama 55 West while firefighters stretched the hoses across the highway.
Fields said a district fire marshal from Jasper was on the scene in less than two hours of the fire to start his investigation.
"There was no one at the station at the time, and we have no idea how the fire started," he said. "But everything we lost can be replaced. No one got hurt and that is our No. 1 goal when we respond to a call anywhere."
The Salvation Army came with snacks and community residents brought food and drinks to the firefighters, Fields said
The Morgan County Sheriff's Department handled traffic. He said Sheriff Ana Franklin also sent inmates to get hose out of the highway.
"We've got to do an assessment on what might be salvaged insofar as equipment," Fields said. "We lost our rescue truck and a reserve rescue truck, which was an ambulance we used to run medical calls."
He noted there was "a kind of blessing in disguise," that a fire engine based at the station was in a shop at Neel for repairs.
Around noon as some firefighters continued to hit hot spots in the building and others grabbed some rest, Fields paused to consider what had happened.
"We're kind of in a state of shock, but we will rebuild. This station will be replaced and our equipment will be replaced."
But he couldn't help but think about the hours he and his fellow Danville firefighters put into constructing the station.
"We built it to accommodate MedFlight, but they ceased their operations here in August," Fields said. "We conducted classes here frequently."
He said the department hosted a firefighter certification class at Station 2 that started in August and that neighboring departments had sent firefighters.
"We met here Tuesday night," Fields said. "We were supposed to start a Hazmat course Monday night. But we've got our other station we can utilize."
And Fields stressed that the department's Station 1 at 5796 Alabama 36 is fully equipped and ready to respond to any calls.
Ronnie Thomas can be reached at 256-340-2438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2013 - The Decatur Daily, Ala.