Walker County Fire Rescue Station 7 reopened this morning at just the right time. The station in the Fairview community transitioned to 24/7/365 staffing at 7:00 a.m. and 40-minutes later, firefighters responded on their first call.
Fire ignited at a home located at 7 Catherine Street in the northern end of the county around 7:40 a.m. A family of three lived in the home, but only one person was inside at the time and that person got out safely. Although firefighters contained the fire shortly after arriving, there is smoke damage throughout and fire damage to about 20-percent of the house.
“They had a less than five minute response time,” said Chief Blake Hodge. “To put it in perspective, if it was yesterday the Flintstone station would have responded and it would have been a little over 8 minutes response. We know that fire doubles in size every minute, so minutes count, seconds count.”
Last year, there were 1,025 calls for service in the Fairview district. Firefighters at Station 2 in nearby Flintstone previously handled calls in Fairview, in addition to the Flintstone district.
Over the summer, Walker County Fire Rescue held a recruitment class to train 11 new firefighters to staff Station 7. They graduated Saturday and have been working this past week to prepare Station 7 for service.
Chief Hodge said the new recruits learned some valuable lessons on their first day. “I look at the fire service as a four legged stool. It’s training, education, experience and continued training and you can’t beat experience. Today, it started day one. It will settle them in a little bit. They will review this incident and see what they did great and what they can improve on.”
Station 7 was previously a volunteer station, but was not being served by any volunteers. It is Walker County’s seventh full service fire station. The county also maintains 11 volunteer fire stations.