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Fire Destroys Rural Home Despite Efforts of Two Departments

Home on US 98 Engulfed in Flames

The City of Fort Meade Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire today along US 98 east on the outskirts of the city. Although the fire occurred outside of the city, Fort Meade units were the first on the scene, and had put water on the fire and established incident command by the time Polk County Fire Rescue units arrived.

Courtesy Ft. Meade Fire Department

Ft. Meade Fire Department responded first to the call from a rural Polk County location and began attacking a vigorous blaze before Polk County Fire Department arrived to back their efforts. The two departments share an interlocal mutual aid arrangement.

"I am really proud of my department. They responded quickly and were able to start battling the fire by the time county units arrived," said Fort Meade Fire Chief Matt Zahara. "We work closely with Polk County to ensure that the southern end of the county is covered due to our automatic aid agreement, and, working together, we keep response times down. Today, our teamwork showed through. We appreciate the cooperation," he added.

The structure suffered extensive damage, but there was no loss of human life or injury. Unfortunately, three pets were lost in the blaze.

Courtesy Ft. Meade Fire Department

Fourteen Polk County and City of Fort Meade units responded to the remote fire location, but were unable to save the home.

Because of the rural area where the fire occurred, the Fort Meade Fire Department set up a drafting pool to hold water for trucks to draw from to douse the fire. Drafting pools are used when there are no hydrants close by. Tender trucks shuttle water from the nearest hydrants to the drafting pool at the site of the fire and can do so continually until enough water is delivered.

"One of the benefits of Fort Meade shifting to a full-time fire department is that our staff is more able to fully respond to incidents like this. We were able to get out here and start working pretty quickly," said Zahara.

Courtesy Ft. Meade Fire Department

Ft. Meade Firefighters set up a "drafting pool" to provide water to attack the flames. The operation was made necessary due to the lack of hydrants in the rural location.

In all, 14 units from Fort Meade and Polk County eventually responded to the fire. Units will remain on the scene for some time monitoring and assessing the damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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