By Anne Pyburn Craig
Very late last Friday night, a security guard at Roy Anderson Lumber smelled smoke and began searching for the source. He found it on the west side of the yard, coming out of a wall between a boiler room and an office, and called the fire department at 12:47 a.m.
“It was coming out of both ends of that building when we got there,” said Tompkinsville Fire Chief Morris Adams. “They were tickled that we got it under control; if it had gotten into those drying kilns we never could have stopped it.”
Firefighters from Tompkinsville, Monroe County, Gamaliel, Mud Lick, and Moss worked together to quench the blaze until after 6 a.m. “I try to make sure we have enough people to switch out — an hour on the hose is like a full day on a regular job,” said Adams.
By Saturday afternoon, many of the locals who’d been up all night on those hoses were out at City Park directing traffic and getting ready for the fireworks, a job that didn’t end until 11:30 that night.
“There was no saving the one building by the time we got there,” remembered Duane Hammer. “It was defensive, just keeping it from spreading. They believe it may have started in the boiler that fires the drying kilns.”