portable dump tanks at fire scene

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Kitchener (ON) fire dispatch toned out Wellesley, St Clements, and Linwood for a barn fire at 4176 Lobsinger Line, April 29 at 17:51. St Clements reported a thermal column on route and requested St Jacobs’ tanker. The barn had had numerous additions over the years and measured approximately 200×50’ at the front, with a second section at the rear approximately 100×70’, and a third 50×50’ section added on to the middle section. The barn was mostly to the ground on arrival with a favorable strong wind blowing away from a large driving shed and harness making shop, and two large houses.

St Clements’ pump set up by the barn, running numerous lines around the structure, and feeding Wellesley’s aerial. A four-inch line was laid in from the road. The Wellesley pumper drafted from three port-a-tanks to feed St Clements’ pumper. Water was initially shuttled from nearby fire department cisterns, and then from a hydrant in St Clements. A number of cattle were removed from the barn before firefighters arrived.

170 pigs, 250 piglets, and 30 cows perished in the blaze. Damage has been set at $700,000. Box 690 provided rehab. Photos taken 35 minutes after dispatch.

Gary Dinkel, Box 690

barn fire in Wellesley Township ON
Mike Wilson photo
rural water supply at fire scene with portable tanks
Gary Dinkel photo
long hose lay at rural fire
Gary Dinkel photo
Mack Thibault aerial working at fire scene
Gary Dinkel photo
barn destroyed by fire
Gary Dinkel photo
Mack Thibault aerial working at fire scene
Gary Dinkel photo
Mack Thibault aerial working at fire scene
Gary Dinkel photo
Firefighters connect hose at fire scene
Gary Dinkel photo
barn fire in Wellesley Township ON
Gary Dinkel photo
Mack Thibault aerial working at fire scene
Gary Dinkel photo
fire engine drafting from portable tank
Gary Dinkel photo
Box 690 Rehab unit
Gary Dinkel photo

At 06:38 Tuesday morning 27-Februaury, Colleton County (SC) 9-1-1 received a report of a fire in the gym of the former Cottageville School located at 72 Salley Ackerman Drive in the Town of Cottageville. The array of four former school buildings makes up the Cottageville Municipal Complex. The two older brick veneer buildings which were constructed in the 1930s, consisted of a 10,200 square foot two-story gym and a 200’ long, 11,500 square foot adjacent main school building which was once used as classrooms. Both buildings have been vacant for nearly a decade and were used for storage by the town. Two other smaller, more modern buildings are used as municipal offices, the police dept, and a public library. A construction crew who was arriving to work constructing a town park, noticed smoke coming from the gym. Upon inspection, they found flames coming from the rear windows on the first and second floors.

Colleton County Fire-Rescue Engine 9, stationed a mile away, arrived within minutes to find the building heavily involved, with flames and heavy smoke coming from most of the building. They requested a second alarm and deployed multiple handlines to the structure. The fire was already impinging on the large classroom building which only had a few feet of separation by a covered breezeway.  Battalion Chief Feather arrived 10 minutes later in Car 118 and assumed command of the fire. He requested a third alarm and noted the turbine vents along the length of the roof of the classroom building had already begun to melt and were emitting heavily charged black smoke. Firefighters deployed lines into the classroom building, but the ceilings on the north end of the building were already beginning to fail, with fire dropping to the interior of the building. Firefighters were evacuated from the inside of the structure as flames began to run the roof line. The fire spread quickly through the old wooden structure.

The rural Cottageville Community does not have a water system, so three separate water shuttle operations were initiated. Two ponds equipped with dry fire hydrants were utilized in the Cottageville area and one group of tenders was sent to refill at pressurized hydrants at the airport industrial park near Walterboro, 12 miles away. Engine 6 setup a fill site on Whites Ave two miles away and Engine 35 setup a fill site at the sand pits off of Peirce Road four miles from the scene. Drop tanks were used in front of the gym (Alpha Side) to supply Engine 2 and Ladder 6. A second drop tank was used on the east (Charlie) side of the building to supply Engine 27 and Ladder 19. A third drop tank was used on Salley Ackerman Drive to supply Engine 9. Battalion Chief Dalton and Firefighter-Paramedic Robert Gregory coordinated water supply with 17 Colleton tenders shuttling water from the three locations for approximately seven hours. Cottageville Police units and sheriff’s deputies blocked off roads leading to the scene, to keep lanes open for the tenders. One lane of Cottageville Hwy (US Hwy 17-A) was used as a staging area for tenders. As the water supply needs increased, a fourth alarm for additional tenders was issued. Command was transferred to Deputy Chief Greene. B/C Feather was moved to Alpha Operations and B/C Sheffield was assigned to Charlie Operations.  Crews on the east (Charlie) side of the fire buildings protected exposures and saved the two municipal office buildings. One building did suffer heat damage to the windows and siding.

Both fire buildings were a total loss, including all of the stored materials, the municipal Christmas and Halloween decorations, lawn maintenance equipment, and police equipment. A contractor with a large track hoe was brought in during the afternoon to remove debris to allow firefighters to complete overhaul of the buildings. The remaining brick veneer walls were pushed in for safety concerns. The fire did spread to a wooded area behind the school and a State Forestry Commission Tractor responded to cut a fire line around the back of the building. The woods fire was quickly contained. Due to the structure being a municipal building, South Carolina State Police arson investigators were brought in to investigate the cause of the fire. Five investigators and an arson dog worked at the scene for six hours. Cottageville Mayor Tim Grimsley, several municipal leaders and employees were on the scene for the duration of the event. The town and many citizens brought food and drinks to firefighters and law enforcement officers working the fire. Fire units were cleared up from the fire by 17:00. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and was treated at the scene. He did not require transportation to the hospital. Deputy Chief Greene, B/C Dalton, B/C Jones, and Chief McRoy operated the Command Post.

Engine 2, Engine 6, Engine 9, Engine 13, Engine 27, Engine 35, Tender 1, Tender 2, Tender 4, Tender 6, Tender 7, Tender 9, Tender 12, Tender 13, Tender 15, Tender 18, Tender 19, Tender 26, Tender 27, Tender 32, Tender 34, Tender 36, Tender 90, Ladder 6, Ladder 19, Rescue 1, Medic 1, Medic 6, Medic 7, Medic 9, Medic 19, Brush 2, Brush 6, Brush 9, Battalion 1, Car 105, Car 109, Car 110, Car 111, Car 112, Car 118, Car 119, Fleet 2 and the Forestry Commission responded.

Barry W. McRoy, Fire Chief, Colleton County Fire-Rescue

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Shane Weber photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Harold Buzzell photo

4-Alarm fire in Cottageville South Carolina

Barry McRoy photo