Six volunteer fire stations in Shelby County combine efforts - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Six volunteer fire stations in Shelby County combine efforts

Posted: Updated:

A new way of fighting fires among Shelby County volunteer fire departments has stood the test this winter. Six departments unified their emergency response team. It is now called the First Battalion of Shelby County.

This was the brainchild of the assistant fire chief of Pea Ridge and the chief of Brierfield. It boils down to the fact that there is strength in numbers. Brierfield Fire and Rescue chief Spruce McRee says there were times when just three people would be able to respond first to a fire.

Now several volunteer teams respond at once. This winter that approach has worked best.

"I cannot remember anything like this, this busy down here before. It has just been unbelievable," said McRee.

McRee says the first Battalion of Shelby County has responded to eight fires within the past 22 days. On average, 30 firefighters have arrived on the scene at each of the last four fires. More than a year ago that would not have been the case.

"Our fire department, like so many other fire departments across the country, are losing members at a fast rate," said McRee.    

Faced with a shortage of firefighters, McRee called on five other volunteer fire departments for help. Brierfield, Montevallo, County Road 17 in Maylene, Pea Ridge, Dry Valley and West Shelby joined forces to make up the First Battalion of Shelby County.

McRee remembers a time prior to the formation of the battalion when just three firefighters were on the scene to a structural fire.

"The call came in a 6:56am. I responded in my command vehicle. We had one engine respond with one man on board. We had a tanker respond with one man on board, so we showed up with people," said McRee.

Prior to the cooperative effort volunteer stations would have responded to a fire, then call for help. Now all six teams are dispatched at once. That means mutual aid response to any structure fire in any of the six department's districts.

Jason Picklesimer is assistant fire chief a the pea ridge volunteer station. He says knowing more people have his back when he's out on a scene is reassuring.

"It's extreme peace of mind knowing that we have additional resources coming to help the situations," said Picklesimer.

The First Battalion covers 142 square miles. That's some 91, 000 acres. They serve a population of more than 12,000 people.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:59:40 GMT
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:32:28 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Hackleburg High School preps for first home game in three years

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:57 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:57:25 GMT
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...