Skip to Content

Putnam Fire Department Fought Pair Of Fires Through Winter Storm

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Fire Department Fought Pair Of Fires Through Winter Storm

Two homes lost to fire during the early stages of Sunday’s snow.

Putnam County Fire Chief Jeff Hicks said fighting multiple fires at once is difficult, and winter weather only adds to the challenge. Hicks said travel from a fire on Cates Road in Monterey to one on Chaffin Road in Baxter was delayed significantly by road conditions. He said the frigid temperatures froze equipment and that only exaggerated the difficulty.

“Can’t say enough about the guys and gals in the department,” Hicks said. “They did a great job making decisions on their own and fighting the fire and they toughed it out. We had a long night and everybody worked together, and that’s what it’s about.”

Hicks said he would have liked to stay and monitor the hot embers in the first fire longer, but the trucks at the top of the driveway would have likely gotten stuck due to increasing snowfall. Hicks said trucks could not safely exceed 35 miles-per-hour even on the interstate on the way from one fire to the other. Both fires resulted in total losses of the homes.

“I told all my guys after that very first fire when we were loading hose, I said, “Hey guys, you know, we’re going to be out all night probably and you’ve got to get there, but you’ve got to get there safely. Take your time.” These trucks are heavy, and they don’t stop well because of their weight,” Hicks said.

Hicks said multiple fire fighters were at the station refilling as many as 15 air bottles that the department used to prevent fire fighters from breathing in dangerous fumes at the first fire. He said because of freezing temperatures, the direct-fill valve on a truck froze, preventing the tanker from being refilled. He said an intake valve also froze, forcing workers to put adapters on the large piston valve just to fill the truck at a hydrant.

“As bad as it was and as bad as it sounds, it actually went pretty good,” Hicks said. “We had the first one, we had most everybody that was available from the central part of the county east was all there, and then everybody that was in the west kind of moved to the west and central area. Because, we’ve still got a whole county to cover, even when we’re on a call, so that way, we could still have resources to run those calls too.”

He said the second fire fell in the Automatic Aid range, so the Baxter Fire Department beat Putnam County there. Hicks said they were very lucky that the house happened to have a hydrant in front of it, which allowed Hicks to call off several tanker trucks that would have otherwise been forced to make the slow, risky trip.


The post Putnam Fire Department Fought Pair Of Fires Through Winter Storm appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.