Archive for March, 2012

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

Got Big Water Seminar…

The Sumter County Volunteer Firefighters Association sponsored Got Big Water Seminar was held this weekend in South Sumter.  Members and apparatus from the Boyd, Coatopa-Dug Hill, Cuba, Siloam, Ward, and Whitfield stations participated in the two day even that is aimed at training firefighters to use their tankers effectively and to deliver big water to remote areas of the county.  This event was a huge success and will most certainly be done again in the future.  There will be much more coming out on this event in the near future, but for now we believe that Mark Davis, one of the instructors from this weekend and founder of GBW, says it best.

  We had a great weekend (March 17/18) with the folks from the South Sumter Fire Battalion in Sumter County, Alabama. The Sumter County Vol Firefighters Association hosted one of our 2-day, Rural Water Supply Operations Seminars. Members from the Cuba, Ward, Siloam, Boyd, Coatopa-Dug Hill, and Whitfield FDs attended. The weekend was full of learning about and reviewing the basics of hauling water to fight fires. Saturday started off with a few hours of classroom work covering fire flow demand, the different types of water hauling rigs, their modes of operation, and fill site and dump site operations. Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning were spent practicing the set-up of fill sites and dump sites and then Sunday afternoon culminated the seminar with the traditional, 2-hour ISO tanker shuttle drill. The folks did a great job hauling water during the 2-hour drill and sustained an average flow of around 575 gpm during the event. At the peak of the drill, the crews maintained 800 gpm for almost an hour. A few photos are posted below with a more complete summary to follow in a week or so.















MANY MORE PICTURES ON FACEBOOK!  Find us on facebook at Twitter as South Sumter Fire!




Volunteer Firefighter Certification Underway…

For several years now the South Sumter Fire Battalion has been the home of a pilot program for certification of Alabama Volunteer Firefighters.  It appears that this may well be the last class that goes through this local program before the “online” or “hybrid” model goes statewide.  This program has been the product of many hours of hard work and collaboration among the instructors and Chief Vaughan.  Further, this program would not have been possible without the input and blessing of AFC Executive Director Alan Rice and Central Region Coordinator Larry Jarvis.  This program has already certified some excellent firefighters and it is hoped that this model will allow the certification numbers in the state of Alabama to exceed the national average and climb to the top of the pack!

In addition to the required skills, we like to introduce candidates to other skills (including those used later in the course) early and often.  Tuesday night of this week saw some candidates touch turnout gear and SCBAs for the first time.  Candidates were broken into groups and put through their paces in a self coaching fashion.  Before the night was over nearly all had completed the required skills.  Thursday night brought several of their skills together as well as placing and additional burden on the candidate by placing them in a search pattern on air.  Exercises like this prove that we have an exceptional group of young people interested in joining the fire service in Sumter County.  There is no doubt that when these guys graduate the communities they represent will be getting some of the best firefighters the area has to offer. 

Candidates practicing their skills on Tuesday Night. 

Chief Vaughan discussing the drill before the class started on Thursday. 


Livingston Lt. Ronnie Sharp assisting a member of his department prepare. 


MVA AL 17 South…

Units from Siloam and Ward Fire Departments responded to a motor vehicle accident on Alabama Highway 17 near the Choctaw County line early in the morning of Wednesday the 14th.  There were no injuries in the incident but a large amount of lumber was scattered across the highway.  South Sumter units were on location at the scene of the accident for nearly four hours waiting on law enforcement to arrive and complete their report. 



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.

MVAs in South Sumter

Thursday, units from Cuba, Siloam and Kinterbish stations responded to two motor vehicle accidents.  One of the incidents involved an injured patient and an interesting rescue for the patient.  The MVA occurred on US11 north in the vicinity of Wallace Road.  The passenger car left the roadway and landed in a creek that was down a steep embankment.  Fire units, AMStar personnel and an SO Deputy assisted in removing the patient from the vehicle and carrying the patient to the top of the hill.  The second MVA occurred during the overnight hours and resulted in no injuries. 

Vehicle Fire on I20-59…

York Fire Department responded to a commercial vehicle fire just before noon this morning on I20-59 at the 12 mile marker.  The fire consumed the cab of the vehicle and was burning into the woods along the road and in the median.  Tankers were dispatched from Siloam Fire and from Boyd Fire Department.  York Fire was able to bring the fire under control with the assistance from Siloam and others. 

Boyd Fire’s Tanker 1 on location.

Vehicle Fire on US80…

Cuba and Siloam Firefighters responding to an early morning vehicle fire on Friday, March 2nd.  Arriving units found the vehicle fully involved.  Cuba Engine 2 arrived on the scene and the fire was quickly brought under control.  The occupants of the vehicle were not injured and the roadway was quickly cleared. 


Storms Damage Area…

Friday saw multiple lines of storms move through the South Sumter area.  One of the storms was warned when it moved into the area and caused widespread damage throughout the town of Cuba and the Kinterbish community.  Several area outbuildings and one home received damage to the roof and to the structure.  Conversations with the National Weather Service and local homeowners indicate that the damage was caused by a downburst or microburst.  Fire department units and Cuba Police responded to reports of damage in the area and assisted with power lines down and traffic obstructions.  Fire units assisted the homeowner that received significant roof damage tarp the roof of her home as well.  Below are a few images from the area:

Radar imagary right before the storm hit the Cuba area.  The radar indicated that the storm was packing hail close to an inch in size and nickel size hail was reported south of the area as well. 


Damage to the roof of a home in the Cuba area. 

One of the outbuildings that had its roof removed.  If you look closely in the background you can see the roof of this structure in the trees behind it. 

Another outbuilding that was heavily damaged on the Northern side of town. (Photo by S. Boyd)


Severe Weather Ahead…

The current forecast is on track and a moderate risk of severe weather covers the Sumter County, Alabama area this morning.  Once again, the highest severe weather risk is well to the North of the area, but certain trends are beginning to indicate that the risk might be climbing over this part of the area as well.  It is too early to say what will happen, but the sun popping out in the West Alabama area and the temperature steadily climbing does not look like a good recipe (Temp 74/DP 66).  With air that charged early in the day and the sun popping out this could be a rather long day.  Here is a good look at the current forecast thinking and graphics.

The SPC has elected to have a high risk over the TN and KY areas today and a large moderate risk that extends from the Sumter County area all the way back into the upper Ohio Valley.  All modes of severe weather are possible in this event.

The SPC Tornado numbers are rather high as well.  It is good to note that we are on the lower end of the spectrum, but this will have to be watched as the day progresses. 

Looks like there will be quite  a bit of wind damage over the entire area if this graphic verifies.  Remember that these percentages are the likelihood of severe weather as described in the graphic occurring within 25 miles of a given point on the map. 

This is the significant tornado parameter over the RUC model for this evening around 1900.  Don’t get hung up on a specific time but do note that the numbers are elevated.  Anything above a one needs to be watched. 

Graphics from NWS Jackson


Numbers have not been this high on the NWS BMX graphics for a good while.  There will be further updates today on our site, but stay tuned to the national weather service in Birmingham for further updates.  Remember, don’t assume everyone knows there is a risk or that there has been a warning.  Contact your neighbors and let them know of the danger so that they can prepare.