middle of the Budget Self Storage building, preventing the fire from spreading to the other half of units, where, among other things, heavy ammunition was being stored. They also managed to save a blue Ford Mustang.
Because of physically demanding work, firefighters were rotating through more frequently but resting less. Normally, when an air bottle runs out, after 15 to 20 minutes or so, firefighters go back to get another bottle and “rehab” for an equal amount of time. Thursday night, the rest periods were down to around five minutes.
“For every air pack breath in, you lose a liter of body fluid. Dehydration is one of the most pressing concerns,” said Rollins. “You try to sip as much water without throwing up. With the dehydration and hard work you tend to get nauseous, weak, dizzy and have headaches, but you have replace electrolytes and go back in.”
Emergency medical workers were on hand providing cold towels, while Newton County firefight- ers were called in to assist.
“It was an intense fire, not like your average structure fire where you go in and knock it down and that’s it and everybody goes home,” Bruno said. “After cutting the doors, even late (Thursday) night we were still spraying foam before going home, because we still had flare ups in there.”
In his 11-year career, Rollins has seen more intense fires, but not many and not recently.
“Those guys (Bruno and relief driver Matt Isom) worked hard; they wouldn’t give up. They were already packing up (putting back on gear) before they even told us to and were ready to go again,” Rollins said. “That goes to training. Those guys don’t even have to be told what to do. They have the knowledge in their mind from training; it’s automatic.”
Covington Assistant Fire Marshal Tony Smith said fire officials are following up on a couple of leads and haven’t yet determined a cause.
Total damages added up to around $50,000 and everything in the storage center suffered some smoke damage, Smith said, but firefighters’ efforts likely allowed several items to be salvaged.
Thursday’s night storage fire looked innocent, but was unusually intense for local firefighters and took six hours to contain.
SPC. E-4 Jon Berry of Monticello, Ga. graduated from basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C. on Jan. 12. He is now going to school at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. and will be there four months as he goes through AIT training. He is the son of Glenda (Berry) Lewis and the late Ralph Glenn Berry of Monticello.