Firefighters from all of Johnson County’s fire departments join forces with Zionville, NC firefighters to extinguish a recent fire in Trade, TN. The fire took over four hours to extinguish. Photo by Tamas Mondovics
By Tamas Mondovics
Structure and brush fires continue to keep Johnson County firefighters busy, drawing attention to the need for updated and upgraded apparatus, not to mention skilled volunteers.Volunteer fire departments across the county have responded to several structure fires within the past couple of weeks, including a pair of structure fires that resulted in complete loss.
The most recent tragedy occurred in Trade last Thursday afternoon and proved to be one of the area’s largest house fires. According to Second District Volunteer firefighter Captain Chris Reece, a 16-year veteran, the call came in at around 2:30 p.m. prompting at least a dozen units and 25-30 personnel to respond to the scene of the structure fire at the corner of HWY 67 N., and HWY 421 S., in Trade.It took firefighters approximately four and a half hours to bring the flames covering the four-unit apartment building under control. Fortunately, there was no one inside the building at the time of the fire.
“We had all eight Johnson County fire departments as well as Zionville FD assisting the call,” Reece said, adding, “I am so proud of all the guys. All of them worked so hard to battle the flames, long after it was initially brought under control.”
The cause has not yet been determined, but Reece said the fire “started in one of the top front apartments.”
While, once again a total loss, Reece emphasized volunteers were at the scene as quickly as possible under the circumstances. “We are all volunteers, and we were at the scene within ten minutes,” he said.
The response may be fast, but the consensus of all local volunteer firefighters that it is by no means fast enough.
“Response time could be cut down drastically if we had full-time staffed fire stations,” Reece said. “It would result in less total losses.”
Johnson County will have to wait a bit longer for an upgrade and continue to rely on the generosity and support of the community on behalf of its volunteer fire departments. The Trade fire is still under investigation.