New Waverly Firefighters joined by crews from Huntsville and North Montgomery County to bring fire under control before it could spread to nearby buildings.
New Waverly Firefighters were dispatched to the area of FM 2793 and State Highway 75 just before Midnight Friday when a passerby called 911 and reported smoke in the area. The Engine Company on duty at the New Waverly Station arrived within minutes to find a lumber kiln heavily involved in fire at the Universal Forest Products plant on FM 2793. The structure on fire was adjacent to several much larger buildings full of lumber and housing the plant’s wood treating equipment.
Additional crews from New Waverly were dispatched to assist as well as crews from Huntsville and North Montgomery County. The additional crews and Walker County EMS were dispatched under the Department’s automatic aid agreements. Under the County Automatic Aid System, neighboring Fire Departments are dispatched automatically upon the initial report of a major fire, eliminating delays spent waiting for confirmation from first arriving crews. In addition to the units dispatched to the scene, a unit from the Riverside Fire Department was moved up to a station in Huntsville so that they would be closer in the event they were needed.
While New Waverly Firefighters attacked the fire in the Lumber Kiln structure, a crew from the Huntsville Fire Department deployed additional lines into the closest buildings exposed to the fire to prevent the fire’s spread. Firefighters then laid nearly 1000 feet of 5” hose to the plant’s fire water pond and established a water supply.
Firefighters from North Montgomery County arrived and relieved the crews that had been extinguishing the fire in the lumber kiln and the fire was brought under control within approximately 90 minutes. Although the lumber kiln structure was destroyed, other nearby buildings suffered only minor heat damage on exposed exterior walls.
There were no injuries and although the fire originated within the lumber kiln itself, the exact cause of the fire has not been determined at this time. Large amounts of wood products are placed in the kilns, which are essentially large heated oven type structures designed to reduce the moisture content of finished wood products.