New Albany Fire/Rescue and all Union County Fire Services have seen a lot of activity during the cold weather since January 1st. The cold weather has caused alarm system malfunctions, along with sprinkler systems freezing and bursting as they thawed out. Several business and church buildings have seen the after effects of the coldest weather in years as lines with water have frozen and burst, causing the fire departments to respond both day and night to their locations.
“Bitterly cold weather affects us all. As long as sprinkler systems are maintained, serviced, and installed properly, we should not have any issues. Otherwise, various problems may occur. Areas which should be heated, for some reason may not be. Or a “dry system,” which means NO water is supposed to be in the system until needed, may actually have water. If the unexpected water freezes and bursts, the system thinks there is a fire. This activates both alarms and water flow,” Deputy Chief Mark Whiteside explains.
New Albany responded to several minor incidents including a laundromat dryer fire, several minor vehicle accidents, medical calls, and 2 structure fires that were considered major and/or total losses. The first was January 2nd just before 5AM. A home on Hillcrest Cove was fully involved when fire units arrived on scene. The other call was on South Central on the morning of January 22nd just before 8am. Fire units were dispatched to a house fire in the vicinity of Hillcrest and South Central. New Albany Building Inspector Eric Thomas was in the area, and gave the fire department the exact location. He reported heavy fire and smoke coming from the home. Upon arrival, fire units reported about 25% of the home being involved with fire, and heavy smoke and heat throughout. The home and contents suffered major damage, and was pretty much a total loss. Fire units had been to this residence the previous week, and had investigated an issue where the occupants had reported seeing smoke in the home.
No injuries were reported in either incident. Both homes did have working smoke detectors in them at the time of the fire from all indications and information gathered from the occupants.
Union County fire departments have also been busy this month, with many routine and weather-related calls. Additionally, five Union County Fire Departments, along with resources from several other counties, spent January 5th battling a fire at the American Furniture Company in Ecru. (see link below)
“We always want to assure our citizens that, regardless of weather conditions, we are here, ready to respond to their every need 24/7/365. We never close, and we never stop” Whiteside reiterates.