30 FFs treated for heat exhaustion at Ala. warehouse fire

The multi-day fire required the use of excavators to allow fire crews to reach the center of the structure


By Dustin Fox
The Gadsden Times, Ala.

ATTALLA, Ala. — Firefighters continued battling a blaze at an Attalla warehouse that ignited around noon Monday and still was smoldering into Thursday.

The fire mostly was contained, according to Attalla Fire Chief Robert Dillard. Excavators had arrived on site by Thursday to clear a makeshift road through the charred building to allow firefighters to gain entry. Earlier in the week, the fire was hard to combat because fire crews could not get in the facility to address the fires that were burning in the center of the structure.

As of about 1 p.m. Thursday, a road had been cut through about 80% of the building, the chief said. Later in the day, another private excavating company was planning to dig out more areas for firefighters to work.

Dillard said he was grateful for the support of the community and surrounding fire departments that came to assist in the fire, many of which returned for shifts of 12 or more hours every day during the blaze.

He added that they were fortunate there were no major injuries. By Tuesday, 30 or more firefighters had been treated onsite for heat exhaustion, but were able to return to fighting the fire. One firefighter had been treated for a small injury on Monday as well, and Dillard said another firefighter was being treated for blisters on his feet Thursday.

For those employees who worked at the warehouse, which was used mainly to store paper products to be used in the production of paper plates, Personnel Staffing of Gadsden has offered to help find employment for those displaced by the fire. The agency can offer temporary to permanent employment in general labor, factory, manufacturing, assembly and other positions. It can be contacted at 256-547-1668.

Attalla Mayor Larry Means said more than 20 people worked in the specific building that burned during the fire. No employees were injured because they were out to lunch when the fire began on Monday.

Means also said Thursday that he had sent a request for Gov. Kay Ivey to declare a local state of emergency as the fire departments and city officials continue to deal with the aftermath of the fire.

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©2019 The Gadsden Times, Ala.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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