Flames threaten airport hangars
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A wind-swept brush fire threatened the newest group of hangars at Atmore Municipal Airport last Friday (September 30) before city firefighters and two other agencies were able to bring it under control.
The inferno began in a farm field to the east of the airport, adjacent to Hanger Road, and quickly spread. It burned up to the fence separating the hangar complex from the farmland before it was finally extinguished.
Local firemen were dispatched to the site around 4:04 p.m. They arrived six minutes later and quickly called for reinforcements as afternoon wind gusts fanned the flames. A firefighting unit from Poarch Creek Fire Department and several from the Walnut Hill station of Escambia (Fla.) Fire-Rescue soon joined the effort.
The land that burned is city owned but leased to a local farmer.
“The farmer was gathering residual (seed) corn when something ignited near where they had a combine,” AFD Capt. Jeremy Blackmon said. “The fall wind, which has been really strong in the afternoons recently, got in it and started pushing it toward the new hangars at the airport.”
The unidentified farmer called on another farmer and was able to help with containment of the flames.
“Kudos to the farmer,” Blackmon said. “He borrowed a 16-foot disk from another farmer and plowed a line around the fire. That helped tremendously.”
Estimates are that more than 30 acres were charred before the blaze, which raged for about an hour, was brought under complete control.
“It had reached the fence surrounding the airport before we finally cut it off,” the AFD captain said.