Albany VFD fights barn fire during long, cold night | News

ALBANY – The Albany Area Volunteer Fire Department worked through Sunday night to contain a fire that burned a barn in the area, leaving no injuries.

Albany-area VFD fire chief Lee Bolen said the incident “was probably one of the biggest fires we’ve had in a few years,” adding that the barn, which contained fuel. farm equipment and chickens, measured about 350 feet long.

At the scene, 14 volunteer firefighters from the Albany Department and about 16 firefighters assisted each other through the Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department and the Columbia Township Volunteer Fire Department, Bolen said. Support services also provided additional tankers.

According to an article posted on the Albany Area VFD Facebook page, the Albany Department was called at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday to respond to “something on fire on Carpenter Road,” but the exact location was not specified. .

Bolen said he arrived at the scene of the blaze less than 10 minutes later, at 6:22 p.m. However, the blaze appeared to be caused by a downed power line next to the barn, and the power line was on. So, said Bolen, volunteer firefighters could not enter the barn upon arrival due to the risk of electrocution.

AEP communications consultant Scott Fuller said the line was overturned by a tree that fell outside the company’s right-of-way, which also resulted in a power outage for a bit. less than 300 clients in the region.

“Unfortunately, we have trees falling on our wires all the time, trees out of the right-of-way, but obviously they don’t start fires all the time – that’s unusual,” Fuller said. “Where possible, we try to work with landowners and landowners to try to cut these trees (which threaten the lines beyond the right-of-way), but we have a lot of trees and a lot of landowners. , and we can “I can’t do everything.”

American Electric Power arrived at the scene around 6:52 p.m. to cut the power, Bolen said. By the time firefighters were able to enter the barn, it had been largely consumed by the fire in part due to high winds, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Bolen said the situation was under control around 8:07 p.m., allowing exhausted firefighters to take a break and recuperate before cleaning up large amounts of debris to tackle the remaining hot spots.

“It was pretty miserable,” Bolen said. “The guys would come in, and they would actually do the physical labor on the fire, and they were sweating because our gear is hot. And of course, when you come out of the barn and you’re in the open air, it’s really cold. We had guys with frozen bunker pants and ice-covered boots. “

Even after firefighters put out the latest fires, the night was far from over for responders.

According to the Albany VFD Facebook post, all three departments left with frozen material to clean up at the station. Bolen said the Albany Department’s pipes were all frozen and had to be brought back to the station in a van.

Members could not leave the station until all equipment had been cleaned, around 2 a.m. according to the mail.

Bolen said he was grateful for the support of the Athens County 9-1-1 dispatchers.

“Our dispatchers handle so many calls during the day, and when we make a call, they are our lifeline in getting the resources we need to get the job done,” said Bolen. “They do it very, very well. “

Bolen also said he was a “great cheerleader” for the local volunteer firefighters.

“All the local volunteer firefighters do it for free, and they spend hours and hours on training throughout the year, then several hours on calls,” Bolen said. “Answering calls like last night is something they gladly do to help their community, and I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate what our people are doing. “

The ministry’s Facebook post expressed sympathies for the owner.

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