Traffic on State Highway 124 was shut down and detoured by Pope County Sheriff’s deputies on Friday afternoon after fire broke out in a gun and ammunition business.
At approximately 12:45 p.m. Friday, June 11, the Crow Mountain Fire Department, Moreland Fire Department, Russellville Fire Department, Martin Township, Linker Mountain and Pottsville Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire that ignited at Omega Guns located near the 2800 block of Highway 124 in Crow Mountain’s fire district.
A short time after the call was dispatched, Pope County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the area to begin traffic control due after dispatch was informed that the fire was causing ammunition to go off and due to propane tanks being in the burning building.
Firefighters arrived on the scene and observed heavy smoke exiting the rear of the business. After offering dispatch a size up of the scene, firefighters made a fast attack from the exterior of the business.
Upon his arrival, Crow Mountain Fire Chief James Cole took command of the call and advised incoming units that the nearest fire hydrant was located near the intersection of State Highway 124 and Crow Mountain Road. Due to the location of the hydrant, firefighters set up a portable pond and water shuttle efforts began in order to establish and maintain a water supply to fight the blaze.
Through the use of tankers, water was transported from the hydrant to the portable pond set up on scene and then used to fight the fire.
As water shuttle efforts began, Entergy and Centerpoint Energy officials were dispatched to the scene and a short time later they arrived on scene and disconnected the utilities.
After laying a hose line to the rear of the structure, firefighters initiated an exterior attack on the blaze due to ammunition going off in the building. Firefighters continued the attack working to knock down the flames. Efforts in suppressing the fire from the outside of the business allowed the attack to progress and allowed firefighters to make entry into the building and begin an interior attack.
Upon entering the structure, firefighters worked to gain control of the fire but due to the intense heat inside the metal building, the amount of time firefighters could spend inside fighting the fire was limited.
Despite the efforts of firefighters, weather conditions played a vital role in gaining control of the blaze and extinguishing it. Due to the temperature and high humidity, firefighters worked for a short time inside then returned outside to continue the attack.
As firefighters continued the heat intense battle, command on scene advised dispatch to tone additional fire departments to request assistance in the fight, primarily assistance with man power due to the possibility of firefighters on scene to become overheated.
Dispatchers toned additional departments for man power assistance and at that time, firefighters with the Pottsville Fire Department responded and joined others with the suppression efforts.
Firefighters would alternate fighting the fire from the interior of the building and then the exterior of the building in order to prevent them from becoming overheated and dehydrated. Firefighters were encouraged to rotate positions and to limit their time inside the structure. As firefighters rotated they were encouraged to take brief breaks and to hydrate themselves before rotating again.
While rotating, firefighters also assisted with filling oxygen tanks that had been previously used in the fight.
At about 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, the fire was determined to be under control and traffic slowly resumed through the area on State Highway 124.
After the fire was determined to be extinguished, overhaul efforts began and firefighters began to pack up equipment and hoses. As progress was made, firefighters with each assisting department were released from the scene by command.
At approximately 6 p.m. Friday evening, Crow Mountain Fire Chief Cole terminated his command and advised dispatch they were returning to their stations, available for service.
It was determined that the fire began as employees were working on rifle barrels when an oil spill caught fire. Due to the rapid spread of the and the buildings contents, the fire progressed quickly.
The rear of the building sustained moderate to heavy fire damage but the front offices sustained some smoke and water damage. At this time, property loss amounts are unknown.
Luckily, no injuries were sustained by employees of the business or by firefighters.
The attached photos and the following video were captured as firefighters battled the blaze.