By Rob Mullins
On the afternoon of January 8, 2019 at approximately 1:15 p.m. Charlotte Fire and Rescue was dispatched to assist Shelburne Fire Department at a possible structure fire. Charlotte Engine 1 was responding in less than 4 minutes with 2 personnel, while other personnel were responding from their homes and their places of work. While in route by the Nordic Farm a large black column of smoke was visible on the horizon, at that time we knew we had a working fire. It was a fully involved 2 story barn approximately 60 X 120 feet
Charlotte Fire arrived on scene shortly after Shelburne Fire and South Burlington Fire, Charlotte and South Burlington were tasked with setting up a water supply to the Shelburne engine for fire attack. A total of almost 4,000 feet of large diameter hose was laid on the ground with 3 pumpers assisting with the relay of water to the Shelburne engine.
Without the mutual aid system, this fire would not have gone as well as it did, Shelburne Fire Department called for help immediately upon receipt of this call. There was representation from 4 fire departments within the first 10 minutes of this fire. All departments went right to work attacking the fire and setting up a water supply. Without a water supply, this fire would have burned out of control for a much longer time. Members from Shelburne, South Burlington and Charlotte made an initial attack on this fire from tank water alone keeping it in check until the hard water supply was established. Apparatus from Shelburne, South Burlington, Charlotte and Burlington Fire Departments were a part of the water supply. An engine from each department had to drop all of their 4” hose on the ground and connect to each other while Burlington Fire Department was at the hydrant almost 4,000 feet away. When this was accomplished, they were able to supply a constant flow of approximately 700 gallons per minute for firefighting operations.
This was such a large fire and had such a good head start that an excavator was called in to assist with the extinguishment and overhaul, firefighting operations concluded approximately 7 hours later, then the long clean up started picking up 4,000 feet of hose and cleaning the attack lines. It also needs to be mentioned that while these departments were fighting this fire, other departments and apparatus were called in to cover their stations in the event of another call. Hinesburg Fire stood by at the Shelburne Fire Station and Ferrisburgh Fire stood by at the Charlotte Fire and Rescue station. Standby firefighters responded to other incidents while at this fire. Firefighters and apparatus were finally allowed to go home at approximately 10 PM, almost 8 ½ hours after the initial alarm.
The agencies that responded to this incident are: Shelburne Police Department, Shelburne Fire Department, Shelburne Rescue, South Burlington Fire Department, Charlotte Fire and Rescue, Hinesburg Fire Department, Burlington Fire Department, Ferrisburgh Fire Department and the American Red Cross. Approximately 40 – 50 personnel operated at this incident.