AFD quickly extinguishes scorching van fire

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – On Thursday, July 29, firefighters quickly arrived to the scene of a vehicle fire on Alabaster’s Applegate Drive.

Alabaster Fire Chief Tim Love said dispatch received a call at 1:38 p.m. reporting a van burning so intensely that the heat began to melt the vinyl siding of the town house behind it.

“The call was dispatched as an auto fire close to the house,” Love said. “It started with a vehicle and migrated over to the townhouse. The fire did not get inside of the structure, but did cause some damage on the side of the town house.”

Love described the vehicle as a camper-style van with propane tanks inside, which led to a “rapid release and flare up from the fire.”

AFD’s firefighters responded to the fire four minutes after the call, arriving at 1:42 p.m, and it was declared under control 14 minutes later at 1:56 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory on Thursday, which exacerbated the fire and added additional pressure to the firefighters.

“On a typical day, not doing any work, our suits can cause our exterior body temperature to jump up to 100 degrees,” Love said. “So, there was a safety concern. We are all about ensuring hydration so there are no issues.”

Love said the department also had its Aerial Tower 19 ladder truck onsite to manage the fire in case it spread to the inside of the house.

“It is always good practice to have the truck there, even if we don’t use it,” Love said.

Love also thanked his firefighters for quickly handling the situation.

“They do a great job. They were highly aggressive get things knocked out and helping folks getting recovered,” he said.