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by Lisa King
Landmark News Service
An early morning blaze ripped through the Mount Eden Fire Department Tuesday morning, completly destroying the metal structure and all it contained.
Lt. John Butler with the Mount Eden Fire Department said the fire occurred at 5:13 a.m., and destroyed the building and virtually all the department owned.
“We lost a forestry truck, an engine, a tanker [truck] and an SUV,” he said, glancing around as firefighters and investigators milled around the still smoldering scene at about 10 a.m.
“We have an engine and a tanker at our Station 2 [in Southville], but this was basically everything we had. It’s where we keep all our equipment and everything,” he said, gesturing toward the burnt out shells of the tanker and other trucks and unidentifiable debris.
There were no injuries, Butler said, as the department is all volunteer, so no one was at the station, but the blaze is devastating, he said.
“It’s a major loss to the community,” he said. “This is our fiftieth anniversary year, too. But no one was hurt, and this can all be replaced and rebuilt.”
Butler, who is in charge until Mount Eden Fire Chief Doug Herndon recovers from a foot injury, said that arson is not suspected.
“I don’t think so; I really don’t, but we just don’t know,” he said. “We have an investigator from the City of Shelbyville looking into it.”
Butler said firefighters were unable to save the structure.
“When I got here, it was fully involved; we weren’t able to pull anything out,” he said.
Donald Bentley, who owns Bentley Monuments next to the fire station on Van Buren Road, said a resident living across the street from the fire department called him and told him the structure was on fire, so he came in early, arriving at 5:30 a.m.
“It sure is bad; it’s hard to believe the fire department can burn down,” he said.
Butler said that in order to continue to provide fire service to the community of Mount Eden, they are going to have to call upon help from other departments.
“We’re going to have sit down with Shelby County, Shelbyville, Waddy and Spencer, and come up with a game plan,” he said.
Tony Carriss, Shelby County magistrate in District 6, which serves the Mount Eden area, called the situation a tragedy for the community.
“The Mount Eden Fire Department is one of the cornerstones of our community, and to lose such a valuable asset like this, is tragic for the community as well as the firefighters that work so hard to keep us safe,” he said. “They’re a resilient group, the Mount Eden Fire Department folks, and I know they’ll bounce back and be even better and have an even better facility in the future.”
Mt. Eden Assistant Fire Chief Larry McClain agreed with Carriss’ assessment.
“Today is a very sad day for Mt. Eden,” he said.
Officials at the Shelbyville Fire Department have no word yet on the cause of the blaze.