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Linden firefighters always ready to roll into action​

Living in the B.W. Creel Fire Station in Linden can be exciting.  I had just gotten in the shower when I heard the grumbling of the engine.  After no more than three minutes in a cold shower, it became apparent. I threw on my clothes and immediately ran down stairs.  I flung the door open to see the final engine fly out of the station with sirens wailing. 

Just then a man came from outside of the fire station and told me to jump in the cab of the command car.  I was not about to miss this opportunity.  The radio was buzzing with chatter about the size and location of the fire.

The moment we made the turn onto Shiloh, the reality of the situation hit as our speed increased exponentially.  After speeding down the street for roughly a mile, we turned onto Martin Luther King Drive. Smoke was heavy in the air.

We pulled up to the location of the fire and got out. Two firefighters were battling the flames in the doorway.  The fire was extinguished quickly.  The firefighters next placed a fan at the entrance of the house.

Fire Chief James Creel, whose father’s name is on the Linden firehouse, explained, “We do this to attempt to spark any other fires that may be remaining inside the house before we clear it.”  The process of clearing the house and shutting the power off took nearly 30 minutes.

While the house stood tall, the inside had been blackened and the living room was completely scorched.  Nothing inside the house could match the emotional toll on the family who just minutes before had been inside.   

As I stood in the smoke-filled air, I began to grasp the situation.  The family affected by the fire huddled around outside near chairs provided by their neighbors.  A woman sat clinging to relatives sobbing as others looked on.

The owner of the house approached Chief Creel for the all clear.  Once the signal was given, the firefighters loaded their equipment back onto the trucks and drove back to the station.  I found it challenging to just walk back to the cab of the command car. The experience was one I won’t forget anytime soon.

Later that evening I was able to speak with Denny Baynham, the current president of Marengo County Fire and Rescue Association and volunteer firefighter, about the number of calls the station responds to in a year.  He said they receive “roughly one hundred calls per year.”

For a community of just more than 2,000 people that number seemed staggering.  However, the fire department here in Linden is constantly prepared to leap into action.  This is apparent the moment you step into the station.

The trucks are clean. The equipment hangs neatly on the wall, and hoses are pre-folded for ease of access. All their gear is preset in the trucks or hung on the walls. The firefighters can be out of the station in as little as four minutes.  

Volunteers train once a month, and they are very good at what they do, always ready to go to work. Living here in the fire station has been a blessing, and I am very thankful for the opportunity.