LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Firefighters from Limestone County, the Alabama Forestry Commission and the City of Athens are working to put out a large brush fire on Berzett Road.
This is east of Interstate 65 in the Piney Chapel area. The fire started just after 1 p.m. today in a grass behind a house, and spread quickly through the woods. The flames burned a vehicle and leveled a large barn. Inside, there were tractors with gasoline and other items that firefighters say exploded when they ignited.
The fire burned 10-15 feet next to the house, but the home was spared. A woman who lives there told WHNT News 19 she’s never seen a fire spread that quickly. Firefighters say it was aided by the wind and dry conditions, but in some ways that fierce wind was on their side Friday.
“The wind direction actually carried it away from the home,” said Piney Chapel VFD Chief Lance Pitts. “But we’ve got tall grass right now, pretty much everywhere. It’s almost like a tinder box. It’s a very rare condition for here in Alabama.”
No one was hurt. Firefighters say the fire is contained. They are still investigating the cause.
Units on the scene include Piney Chapel, East Limestone and Elkmont Volunteer Fire Departments, Athens and the Alabama Forestry Commission.
Chief Pitts says this unusual drought is straining resources.
"Our forestry unit here in Limestone County actually covers 4 counties," he said, "and they're staying on the road 12 to 18 hours a day."
He encourages you to do what you can to help lighten their workload, and that includes being responsible.
"Right now, it's crucial that you be very mindful of anything that could cause or start a fire," he cautioned. "We have to come out and possibly risk our lives to put out a fire that you thought was just a small fire that you could contain."