COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. — While much of the Shoals was up early celebrating the new snowfall, many first responders were here at a home on Spring Drive in the Brick Hatton community of Colbert County.
Flames engulfed the three-story home, destroying it in the process. The blaze was so large that ten fire departments and additional agencies were called. While the Brick Hatton Volunteer Fire Department was the original responding agency, those that assisted were White Oak, Leighton, Colbert Heights, Nitrate City, Red Bank, Hatton, Courtland, and Town Creek Volunteer Fire Departments as well as the Muscle Shoals Fire Department.
Chief Cody Bond with Brick Hatton VFD said Monday’s snow and cold temperatures didn’t make battling the blaze any easier.
“It makes it a lot harder,” Bond said. “We have to call in more resources. We got Colbert EMA out here doing rehab, we got Keller out here on most of our house fires.”
The EMA set up a temporary warming station as firefighters rotated out. Bond said weather wasn’t the only thing that made it a difficult fire, there was only one hydrant a considerable distance from the home.
While ten departments may seem like a lot, as a volunteer chief, Bond said it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“Make sure we got all the resources we can get; call big first and we can always turn people away,” Bond said.
Bond said there’s also a shortage of volunteer firefighters.
“Being a Monday in the volunteer world, a lot of people have other jobs,” Bond said. “I’m a fireman also; today’s one of my days off. I’ve got several people here in our department but they’re working jobs, so does every other volunteer department which is declining right now; you’re having less and less members.”
Despite the challenges, it doesn’t change the hearts of those who volunteer day and day out, no matter the conditions.
Crews battled the house fire well into Monday afternoon. No one was living in the home at the time and no one was injured. The cause is under investigation.