Training key in helping multiple fire departments coordinate to fight large Bassett fire

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter
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HENRY COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Dozens of firefighters worked through the night Wednesday battling the fire inside a roughly 35,000 square foot warehouse in Bassett belonging to REA.

"When we arrived, we found flames coming through the roof," said Bassett Volunteer Fire Department Chief Junior Lynch.

Lynch says the quick response from the county's eight departments is a big reason the fire wasn't any worse than it was.

"A big 'thank you' to every department that did respond; every volunteer. It was definitely a team effort," he emphasized.

Thursday, firefighters monitored hot spots and cleaned up.

The fire departments operate independently from each other and from the county's public safety department, but they and the department frequently train together for situations just like this and Wednesday night it paid off.

"There was an officer in the staging area that communicated back to the Chief, 'Chief, I've got an engine with four firefighters on it.' Then, when a new assignment or task would come up, the Chief would come back and say, 'alright, send this engine to this part of the building and so forth,'" Tatum explained.

Part of the training includes meeting with the Chiefs and discussing incidents like this so that everyone is even better prepared the next time.

"All of us sitting around the table together discussing the system as a whole," said Tatum.

REA used the warehouse to store supplies like food and toiletries it collects and distributes to agencies or individuals during disasters.

The company representative on scene Thursday said the company still has plenty of other supplies in other warehouses, so the loss shouldn't be too detrimental.

And while the building is still structurally sound, he says he doesn't know what the company will do with it now.

As of Thursday afternoon, the fire remained under investigation.

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