Until you need them, you don’t think about them. This has been a statement used more then once to describe volunteer fire departments. Until you either hear the sirens wailing past your house, or see the big red blur of a truck flash past you on the road, most don’t realize there are many men and women who suit up at a moments notice, dropping everything from their jobs to their social lives to battle fires in their communities. And they do it for nothing more than their caring for others. No pay, no accolades, only satisfaction that they can help when needed.
For Joe and Debby Lawrence, getting to know your volunteer fire department became an up close and personal experience. They, like many, hadn’t had a lot of history with these men and women, until recently when Joe came home one day to find them in his yard… saving his house.
On Monday, June 20, Joe was driving into Adairville and saw smoke in the sky. Well, if you live in Logan County, it’s not uncommon to see a cloud of smoke, especially during the hot summer months. Brush fires are as common as crickets in the south, and unfortunately, some of the largest amount of calls a rural fire department receives in the middle of the year.
“I thought maybe it may be a small fire somewhere,” said Joe when he saw the smoke, who wasn’t really alarmed, until he started to get closer to his house on JC Holman Road, and the smoke grew along with his fear. “When I turned the corner and saw all the firefighters in my yard, along with 8 to 10 feet flames 30 yard from my house, I was in disbelief.”
The field, which held straw, directly behind the Lawrence homestead had caught fire. Numerous acres were ravaged with flames and they were heading straight for the Lawrence house.
“I was really worried about our dog,” said Joe. “I also thought what would happen if the trees that surround our house caught fire.”
The Adairville Rural Fire Department quickly arrived on scene to start fighting the fire. The Olmstead Rural Fire Department, Russellville Rural Fire Department and Auburn Rural Fire Department were paged out to assist as mutual aid. The fire appeared to consume 75 to 80 acres.
This same day Olmstead firefighters battled a load of hay that ignited going down Watermelon Road. The fire spread to both side of the roads. Other fire departments had calls as well on this date. This was a very busy day for all the county departments.
When it’s very dry outside and with the farming going on, there are usually several field fires where equipment has caught on fire due to the extreme temperatures and equipment setting the fields on fire.
“We can’t thank these firefighters enough for what they did,” said the Lawrences. We can’t name all of them, but we want them to know how appreciative we are, and for all those who came out to help keep the fire from taking our house. They were amazing and they do it all for free,” said Joe, adding Jim Trimble of the Adairville department was wonderful.
Debby Lawrence said she didn’t know how they did it with all the heavy gear they were wearing while fighting the fire.
“It was so hot outside, and the fire of course made it even hotter. They were dressed in heavy suits and had heavy equipment on top of that,” said Debby.
Monday was a near miss for the Lawrence family, but only thanks to the efforts of those volunteer firefighters in Logan County who do what they do best. It may go unnoticed at times, but it is definitely appreciated by those who rely on them the most.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.