Two houses in Fort Payne that are only five miles apart caught fire within 15 minutes of one another, forcing firefighters to battle two different fires at the same time.
It's something the Fort Payne Fire Department rarely deals with.
"...To have two pretty good working structure fires at almost identically the same time, that'll stress mostly any size fire department," Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Stacy Smith said.
But Monday night, fire crews in Fort Payne faced a different challenge. After one house fire started around 7:15 PM on Scenic Drive, a second fire on Horseshoe Circle started soon after. That's when Ron Saferite, Chief of the Fort Payne Fire Department, says they ran into a problem.
"The biggest difficulty to start with was the man power for the second call," Saferite said. "But we do what's called a non-call for off-duty firemen, and we had one of our best turnouts last night, nearly everyone showed up who was off duty."
Saferite tallied 18 off-duty members that showed up to help what was originally just 11 firemen. Saferite tells WAAY31 that the investigators are still looking into the cause of the fires, but both fires may have started in the same place, the laundry rooms.
At the first house, one of the residents called for help and it was a neighbor next to the second house who did the same. That immediate response is what Smith says went a long way.
"In both instances, early notification got the fire departments on the scene quickly and we were able to effectively do a better job of getting on scene earlier," Smith said.
At the end of the day, Saferite was proud of his team.
"I mean they did what they were supposed to do and got the job done," Saferite said. "Can't ask for it to be any better than that."
The Fort Payne Fire Department told WAAY31 nobody suffered injuries and both structures were salvageable.
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