Chamber recognizes fire, police, EMA

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 6, 2004

On May 22, 12 fire departments, 115 firemen, two EMS departments with about 20 personnel and 19 firefighting equipment responded to a fire at Summer Classics in Columbiana.

The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce recently honored those agencies which responded to the blaze during a picnic held at the Jeanette Nivens House last Thursday. And both the city of Columbiana and Summer Classics provided additional special thanks.

William Bew White III, president of Summer Classics announced a gift of $5,000 worth of furniture and $2,000 cash to the Columbiana Fire Department and a gift of $2,000 to the Summerhill Volunteer Fire Department for their efforts.

White said Summerhill rescued patterns that would have had to be restored.

Mayor Allan Lowe presented a key to the city to Charles Culotta, part owner of Piggly Wiggly, and recognized Store Manager Don Allen for their generosity during the Summer Classics fire.

According to Lowe, Piggly Wiggly provided firefighters with water and sandwiches, fruit and cookies, and Allen helped to direct traffic while volunteers were unloading supplies.

Lowe said later that Piggly Wiggly was not the only business that provided support that day, but the recognition at the chamber picnic was to recognize them not only for their support during the fire but past support of the city.

He said the city intended to recognize Allen in person, who was not able to attend the South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce picnic.

Stacy Walkup, executive director of the South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, told represented agencies,

&uot;Each of you would probably say I am not a hero, but to us, each of you are.&uot;

Plaques of appreciating were presented to Alabaster F.D., Southeast Shelby Rescue, Montevallo F.D., Westover F.D., Wilsonville F.D., Columbiana F.D., Pelham F.D., Regional Paramedic Services, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Summerhill F.D., Saginaw F.D., Calera F.D., Columbiana P.D., the Emergency Management Agency, Fourmile F.D.,

and the Kingdom F.D.

According to Columbiana Fire Chief Johnny Howard, who provided the earlier listed statistics, some

7.1 million gallons of water were applied to the blaze at Summer Classics.

He also acknowledged the work of county and city emergency management agencies, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, the Columbiana Police Department and local city officials.

Howard said within 20 minutes of requesting mutual aid, seven fire departments were on the scene. The included Columbiana, Calera, Wilsonville, Kingdom, Fourmile, Summerhill and South Shelby Rescue.

Howard said despite their best efforts, however, it was determined that a defensive attack was needed.

He said when it was then determined that the historic part of the building was lost, efforts turned to suppress the fire in the two remaining buildings, the sewing plant and the rear warehouse.

Howard said when it was later learned that there were 10,000 tires stored in the rear warehouse, more help was requested from Montevallo, Alabaster, Westover, Saginaw, Shelby and Pelham.

&uot;Although it took five hours to bring this fire under control, units would remain on the scene for the next 36 hours.&uot; said Howard.

&uot;This mission would not have been successful had we not received all of your help.&uot;

Overall, according to Howard, there were 21 agencies and 175 people involved in the effort.

He offered special thanks to Jerry Lamb of Columbiana, Davy Edwards of Wilsonville,

Bill Reid of Montevallo (west side) and Tommy Moon of