“Actually, my guys did an amazing job, for there to be that much of that building left,” said Fire Department Chief Keith Scruggs. “They did a heck of a job.”
The call came in at about 5 AM. A ‘heavy fog’ had been sighted over the laundromat. “It spread to the joined building before we could get it under control,” Scruggs said. “That new ladder truck we got with the help of a grant? If it hadn’t been for that, that whole building would have burned down.
“I haven’t determined the cause; I didn’t see anything that just jumped out at me. As a matter of fact, I haven’t ruled out lightening—it was storming pretty bad last night.”
“I was actually the first firefighter out here, besides the full time guy on duty,” said volunteer firefighter Barry Newberry. “It was smoking bad by then.”
28 men were on site fighting throughout the morning, including every employee of the Fire Department and most volunteers. They used every department vehicle—three trucks and a ladder.
Although an ambulance was on site, none of the men were seriously injured. Several of them suffered heat exhaustion and had to be taken over to rehab, so that they could be ready to go back out and keep fighting. “We were thankful,” said Scruggs. “No smoke inhalation, no burns, just exhaustion.” The men had to work four hours straight defeat the blaze, finally getting it under control at around 9 AM.