Structure Fire in Morningstar Area…


Morning Star Fire Department was dispatched to a reported structure fire this morning on County Road 19.  Automatic Aid was dispatched from York, Siloam and Cuba Fire Departments.  Morning Star and York units arrived on location and mounted a quick attack on the fire and held the fire to the room of origin and prevented major damage to the dwelling.  All departments in the southern portion of Sumter County drill together on a regular basis so that on emergencies like this firefighters know how to effectively work together to serve the public.  



Structure Fire on Old Hwy 80


Submitted by Ashlynne Vaughan

On Monday, February 8, 2016 Cuba VFD was paged out for a structure fire just off Old Highway 80. With the automatic aid in place, other departments in the South Sumter area were paged as well. Lt. Josh Reid was first on scene in Cuba Engine 2 to find a shed completely engulfed in flames. The wind was high that day so it was a welcome sight when other departments arrived on scene. The quick response of Cuba VFD, Morning Star VFD, Siloam VFD, Ward VFD and York VFD allowed the blaze to be contained quickly and prevented the fire from spreading into the surrounding woods. Great job to all volunteers who responded – many hours of training put to good use when it was necessary!


Submitted by Ashlynne Vaughan


Submitted by Ashlynne Vaughan

ISO Scores Lowered Across South Sumter

Dry Hydrant installed in the Whitfield Community.


All fire departments in Alabama, whether they are paid or volunteer, are rated on a cyclical basis by the Insurance Service Office. The ISO inspection looks at the department’s training and equipment as well as the water system that services the area. It was often the case that one or the other of the inspected areas would keep a department form achieving a better score. The fact that the rating schedule was the same regardless of the department type made it difficult for many volunteer fire departments to lower their ratings. For many years most departments in the area maintained a class nine rating or split ratings down to a six. The split rating system placed one rating on properties that were within five miles of a station and 1000 feet of a fire hydrant. In many cases this meant that those who live in rural areas would never receive the lower rating and insurance providers could charge them the higher rate. This trend began to be reversed in 1999 when Sumter County Voters approved the property tax that was directed at the volunteer fire service. All departments in Sumter County began receiving $16,000 or so each year from this tax. This money was applied to the modernization of equipment, apparatus and training enhancements at most departments.


In the fall of 2015, the ISO visited Sumter County and inspected nine of the municipal and volunteer fire departments in the county. The South Sumter area had three departments that were inspected during this visit and each agency received a major improvement in the score for their area. Cuba, Siloam and Ward Fire Departments were the departments that were inspected. The old rating for Cuba had been a 6/9 and residents in area that are within a 1,000 feet of a hydrant received the 6 rating. The new rating for Cuba is a 5/5x which places any address within five miles of the station at the new rating. Plans are underway to achieve next rating of a 4/4x within the next two years. The score should not be difficult to achieve with the groundwork that has been put in place by the officers and firefighters.


Siloam had a rating of 7/9 before the visit and Siloam has dropped to a 5/5x as well. This represents a substantial drop in the rating due to the small number of hydrants that are found in the Siloam area. The hard work of the fire department officers and firefighters as well as the massive investment in a new engine and a new tanker have allowed the department to receive the much improved rating. Siloam is working toward the next rating and plans to have ISO back within the next two years.


Ward Fire Department also had a rating of 7/9 prior to the inspection and dropped their rating to a 5/5x as well. The characteristics of the Ward area are similar to Siloam. The new rating is a combination of the work put in by members and the new apparatus that has been purchased. The Ward department is working to address issues that will allow it to drop its rating to the next level as well.



York Fire Departments Engine and Ward Fire Departments Tanker at a structure fire in Cuba on 2-8-16.  Automatic Aid was utilized on this call to bring more than enough resources to bear.

The largest deciding factor besides the departments working to have all members certified as firefighters and the new apparatus purchases has been the creation of an automatic aid/battalion system. No longer are departments in the South Sumter area having to handle calls as a single unit. When an alarm sounds pre-designated responses are put into action and up to three departments are dispatched on the initial call. If the call is in a rural area a tanker strike team is ordered to respond as well. In most cases this will bring sufficient manpower and just over 10,000 gallons of water to the scene of the fire in a reasonable period of time. The automatic aid system has allowed the departments to help each other and to cooperate to save lives and property as well as dollars on your insurance premiums.


Besides the financial shortages that plague departments operating on the small amount of money received, departments face a significant shortfall in the area of members and recruits. Please consider joining and serving your community through your local fire department. The departments are staffed by your neighbors and friends and could certainly use your assistance in protecting our homes and families.

South Sumter Training – SCBA/Interior Search

IMG_3984.compSouth Sumter’s most recent training session had a great turnout with members from Morning Star, Cuba, Ward, Whitfield and Siloam. The SCBA/Interior Search session had Assistant Chief Fisher taking teams through entry procedures in various stages. After the firefighters were suited up in their gear, they were put into teams of two and led through the drill. The firefighters were taught the importance of communication with each other and proper search techniques. The firefighters not only trained with gear but they were put into a more natural fire scene setting by having their masks covered when they went through an additional time as they located and removed victims from the practice structure. Assistant Chief Holder gave the scenario to the firemen that were set for entry that a female had made it out of the structure, but her husband and daughter had not. As the firefighters began their search of the structure they found out the importance of noting what they felt, any exits and what type, and most of all communicating with one another. Once the firefighters had gone through the setting to retrieve victims, they went back through with fire hose to prepare for that difference on-scene. It was clear to those looking on that the trainers involved were there to help prepare firefighters for actual circumstances they could face at any time.  It was evident as the training session occurred on a cool, clear day how much the conditions, heavy smoke and heat,  can have an effect on a firefighter. Focus on the task of search and rescue is not something these members take lightly. Firefighters were able to ask questions throughout the session to help clarify how to proceed on any proposed circumstance.IMG_4016

Busy Weekend…

Various Pics 005


Crews were busy with a structure fire on friday and several medical calls over the weekend.  However, Sunday afternoon naps were destroyed with the sound of pagers and a reported structure fire in the Shaw Road area.  First arriving units reported that it was a large grass fire with several structures threatened.  Cuba Engine 2 and crew arrived and stood between the fire and an endangered home and barn with just seconds to spare.  Before the fire was under control units from all South Sumter Fire Battalion stations other than Whitfield Fire were on location.  Boyd Fire Department dispatched Tanker 1500 to the scene to provide support for units attempting to keep the fire from jumping the four lane.  Crews from Morningstar and Kinterbish (backed by Ward and Siloam Tankers) made he stop in the median of US 80.  The fire was brought under control shortly after 1500 hours.  Cuba Police Officers Jeff Shaw and local resident Steve Holcombe assisted crews by plowing fire lines in before forestry arrived with their own tractors.

South Sumter Fund Raiser Success…

Members from South Sumter Stations worked hard to complete a fund raiser on Saturday, April 14, 2012.  Residents from the area purchased Boston butts and the proceeds were deposited into the South Sumter Fire Fund.  Fundraisers in the past have helped purchase hydraulic rescue tools for the South Sumter Battalion.  Special thanks to Cuba Firefighter Mark Stallings for providing the cooking knowledge.  Nearly all of our fundraising activities would not be possible without Mark’s expert help.  The cooking team was rounded out by Captain Wright and Ward Deputy Chief Bragg.  Don’t miss out the next time we cook!

 Mark Stallings takes a look at the meat on the pit.  Slow roasted, southern cooked Barbeque at its finest! 




Brierfield Firefighter Justin Gillen…

Brierfield Volunteer Firefighter

Justin Gillen



On Saturday afternoon March 24, 27-year-old Justin Gillen was killed in a motorcycle accident.  Justin leaves behind a wife, Paige, 10-year old son, Tyler and 3-year-old daughter, Jenna.  Justin had just found a job in January so unfortunately his insurance benefits were not in force yet and there is no coverage to help this family with final and ongoing expenses.


Justin was a good man and firefighter.  He loved the fire service and to help his community but he loved his family more.


The Alabama Chapter of the Terry Farrell Firefighter’s Fund is working to collect funds to help this grief stricken family.  100% of donations in Justin’s name will go to help this family.


Donations may be made to:


The Terry Farrell Firefighter’s Fund-Alabama Chapter

Justin Gillen

C/O The Alabama Fire College

2501 Phoenix Dr

                                                                                                                                                                       Tuscaloosa, AL 35405



Spruce McRee


Brierfield Volunteer Fire & Rescue

New Features from South Sumter Fire…

When South Sumter Fire was created the organization was aimed at fostering an automatic aid group for the five stations covering the southern end of Sumter County as well as a training system that would assist all of Sumter County.  One of the other items that was on the list was a better response and handling of all hazards that will impact the citizens of the South Sumter area.  Certainly responding to fires and such would be near the top of the list, but being a rural area the fire department officers prepared to do more than just the basics.  The newly designed shoulder patch for the South Sumter Fire Battalionincorporated everything that the unit intended to do and is currently doing to serve the people of the area.  One of the items that was brought to the forefront in the past year was severe weather.  South Sumter is proud to announce that we now have a severe weather feed through FACEBOOK and Twitter that is available to all citizens of Sumter County.  We still recommend every resident purchasing their own severe weather radio, but this service will fill a gap and provide a much needed notification method for people on the go.  You may find us on facebook under the name of “South Sumter Fire Battalion” and you may find our twitter feed under “SouthSumterFire”. 

Anyone who is interested is also welcome to subscribe to South Sumter Fire by putting your email address in the subscription bar on the left hand side of the web page.  Subscribers will be alerted when any news is made public on the website. 

Lastly, We would like to thank everyone who has supported the South Sumter Fire group through the past two years.

Tower Project Phase II…

The next phase of the communications project was completed this past weekend.  One-hundred foot towers were erected at Boyd, Ward, and Whitfield.  These towers will be used for station communications and in the case of Whitfield; the tower will be immediately put in service as a repeater station.  Siloam Asst. Chief Harry Hughes organized the project and coordinated the effort to complete this phase of a multi-year effort to increase the quality of communications in the Sumter County Fire Service.  Without people such as Harry there would be much that would go undone.  On this project alone Harry has put in countless hours getting equipment ready.  A special thanks to all the other firemen and officers that worked to complete the project at each of the stations.  Hopefully, the next phase of this project will be completed in very short order.

Antenna being put on the tower at Boyd Fire Station.

Boyd tower nearing completion.

Chief Dial standing next to the completed tower.

Preparations being made at Ward.

Nearing completion at Ward Fire.

Ward tower is complete.

Ward Fire Chief Fredy Reeves standing next to the completed tower at his station.

Making preparations at Whitfield Fire.

Securing the tower to the base.

Whitfield tower is complete.

Chief Steele standing next to the completed tower at Whitfield.