Florence fire chief reflects on deadly warehouse fire

Shoals

FLORENCE, Ala. — Florence Fire Chief Jeffrey Perkins said the emotional toll of the life lost is felt not only by family members but also first responders.

It took firefighters more than 24 hours to extinguish the blaze at Right Solutions in the Florence-Lauderdale Industrial Park.

Chief Perkins said when his team arrived on scene Wednesday evening, they worked on evacuating the building and it was believed everyone made it out safely. Sadly, 34-year-old Justin Ross was unable to make it out.

Ross was the son of Right Solutions owners Wanda and Roy Ross.

The chief said it was a difficult fire to extinguish, even more so with the loss of life.

“Anytime there’s a loss of life, it’s never-ending,” Perkins said. “It’s constantly on the mind and we’re thinking about the family that has to deal with this and it’s not only them dealing with it but it’s our guys that deal with it as well because we take it home with us.”

However, the chief said that doesn’t get in the way of the job.

“We hate it that this is a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Perkins said. “I also want to extend the fact that these are the things that we try to prevent through education. I can’t stress that enough and these guys have worked diligently and hard.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation but Deputy Fire Chief Tim Anerton said investigators believe it began on the far end of the building near the loading dock. No foul play is suspected.

The investigation will continue after the weekend.

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