FLORENCE, Ala. – Firefighters say it was one of the most dangerous fires they have faced in recent history. More than 24-hours after the fire at the law firm of Potts and Young in Florence, hot spots were still being extinguished.
From the air the destruction is jaw-dropping; the roof collapsed into the ground floor.
Firefighters have remained on the scene since the fire was reported by a newspaper delivery driver early Thursday morning. Four separate times firefighters made entry into the building, but it was just too hot to stay and fight.
“The building has a lot of obstacles inside the way it is constructed and been added on to through the years,” explained Florence Deputy Fire Chief Tim Anerton. “By the time they were getting to where the fire was going to be, their personal protection gear was starting to break down, showing signs of melting and damage.”
Firefighters say it was like an oven inside. Heat was being trapped between the original roof of the building and the metal roof put on when the second floor was added.
“Lots of times we have a building that has either a tar and gravel roof and metal lying right directly over it or even a shingled roof. People come in and put a metal roof directly on top of it, and it works well, it works really well, until it catches on fire and then it’s really hard to deal with,” stated Anerton.
According to Anerton, an electrical short in a wall outlet caused the fire. Anerton added witness statements were able to help investigators narrow down the location. Once investigators were able to get into the building Friday afternoon, they quickly found the outlet.
One firefighter had to be treated for minor injuries after slipping and falling at the fire scene. Two buildings which adjoin the one which caught fire did receive smoke damage off of the blaze.