Coweta fire personnel handle multiple responses
by Wes Mayer
The Coweta County Fire Department responded to three separate calls Tuesday afternoon — a train accident, a woods and grass fire and a suspicious package.
Fortunately, no one was injured in any event.
The first call was a woods and grass fire near U.S. Highway 29 across from Glanton Elementary School in Grantville, said Coweta County Fire Captain Craig Sherrer. Engines 4 and 11 and Squad 8 responded around 3:30 p.m. to fight the fire which covered about half an acre.
Personnel with the Georgia Forestry Commission also responded to the scene and cut a break around the fire to contain it, Sherrer said. Two structures were threatened by the fire, but firefighters and forestry personnel were able to prevent any damage. After around 45 minutes, the fire was under control, Sherrer said.
About four minutes after firefighters were dispatched to the woods and grass fire, a train struck a tractor-trailer on the tracks at the intersection of Dingler Road and U.S. Highway 29, Sherrer said — the truck was split in half. All occupants were out of the truck, and no one was injured, but the truck’s load of hay went flying down the tracks.
The train was pulling six or seven tanks of potentially hazardous materials, so the fire department’s special operations unit — the hazardous materials or HAZMAT truck, Truck 1, Rescue 1 and Car 1 — was dispatched to the scene, Sherrer said. None of the tanks were found to be damaged in the accident or leaking.
About five minutes after the HAZMAT truck was dispatched to the train accident, a call about a suspicious package at Northgate High School was sent out. According to Sherrer, Car 4, Car 702, Engine 7 and Trucks 6 and 7 were dispatched to the school — the HAZMAT truck was called as well, but it was already being used. The package was quickly determined to just be an item left by someone repairing machinery at the school. According to public safety radio traffic, it was a vacuum cleaner.