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TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2007
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Arsonists strike Trinity fire station

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com · 340-2438

TRINITY — A block wall and a metal door possibly prevented disaster the night of Aug. 14 when arsonists ignited a blaze in Fire Station 2 on North Seneca Drive.

Bill Pettey, chief of the Trinity Volunteer Fire Department, said someone ignited materials in a closet off the classroom, the front section of a 1,600-square foot area that branches off into other rooms, including a radio room, training room, utility room and kitchen.

Petty said State Fire Marshal Dalen Gassett of Montgomery ruled arson after inspections Wednesday morning with partner Lyndon Blaxton of Moulton.

Trinity Police Chief Chris McLemore said officers have made no arrests. He said they are continuing to follow leads from residents in the area, who might have seen something or heard unusual noises.

The block wall forms a partition between the classroom and the station’s twin bays, which house four firetrucks, two parked to exit from the front of the station, the other two from the rear. The metal door, which the arsonists entered, opens into the classroom.

“Thank goodness for the wall and the fact that they closed the door behind them,” Pettey said. “We’d have really been in trouble had the fire reached the trucks.”

Pettey said the trouble began that afternoon when a firetruck pulling in knocked loose one of the bay door guides so that neither door would close. He said firefighters tried to keep a close watch at the open entrance.

He said that at about 11:30 p.m., Trey Patterson drove past and saw what he believed were two juveniles running from the station, thinking they might have vandalized it. He radioed fellow firefighters, who joined him at the station.

“We went in and opened the classroom door to discover the fire,” Pettey said. “We store paper, training materials, other literature on shelves and manikins in the closet.”

Pettey said firefighters drove the trucks out of the station and pulled a hose from one of them to extinguish the fire.

He said that while the fire was contained to the closet and classroom, heat and smoke took a heavy toll on the whole area. He said fire destroyed tables, chairs, televisions and DVD and VCR players the classroom. He said radios in the adjacent room sustained damage, but he believes some are salvageable.

Pettey, who spent the remainder of that night at the station, said workers will have to replace kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator, the deep freeze and chairs.

Pettey said the building is insured. He said contractors will begin stripping all the drywall and ceilings this week in preparation to remodel.

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