Damage estimate is $80,000 at fire station

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 06:59 PM

A kitchen fire resulted in the closure of the Vance County Fire Station on Bickett Street Wednesday morning, but firefighters say it will not impact responder services.

Nor will it deter plans for an open house event on Saturday that opens Fire Prevention Week. Of all things, the national emphasis just happens to focus on the dangers of kitchen fires.

The fire caused some damage to the kitchen area of the fire station. Smoke damage was more extensive, according to Jordan McMillen, the deputy county manager and director of the county planning department.

“It was an accidental kitchen fire,” McMillen said. “Nobody was there when it happened.”

The fire crews were working on a tobacco barn blaze at about 8, and at least two EMT responder units also had gone out in answer to unrelated medical emergency calls. That left the station, and a pan breakfast with potatoes frying in grease, unattended.

The Henderson Fire Department responded to the call shortly after 8:30. McMillen said the extent of smoke damage is what drove the structure damage estimate up to $50,000, and an estimate on content damage totaled about $30,000.

McMillen said operations will continue without interruption through use of a mobile command unit at the Bickett Street location. Danny Wilkerson, Henderson’s fire chief, has offered use of the city’s downtown location to house one of the ambulances and crew.

“It could happen to anybody, any of us,” Wilkerson said. “No one is immune to the danger of a kitchen fire. It is ironic that that is the theme for fire prevention week.”

Wilkerson said the smoke is what makes the station house unlivable for the time being, and many items would have to be replaced. He said the measure might be optimal for making sure an ambulance remains nearer the downtown area in the city.

“It was a strange call, to go out to a fire and it’s another fire station,” Wilkerson said. “It’s not what we encounter everyday.”


Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.