It’s been a busy winter for Petersburg’s volunteer fire fighters. Wednesday morning December 27th saw another fire, this time in a chicken and rabbit coop about seven miles south of downtown.
Volunteer department spokesman Dave Berg said the police received a call reporting the blaze at a rock pit just south of Twin Creek on Mitkof Highway around 2 o’clock Wednesday morning. He said the fire department sent an engine and tanker truck.
“When officers got on scene we found a combination chicken and livestock shed that was fully engulfed with flame,” Berg said. “And we were able to extinguish the fire without using additional water from the tanker and fortunately most of the animals were saved.”
Berg said some of the rabbits and chickens were killed by the fire but the number is not known. He also noted the department was one person short on volunteers to make up the engine crew. He said they’re looking to boost the number of people trained to respond and thinks low numbers could impact fire-fighting efforts.
“When we do have an incident like this and we can’t get adequate help, it’s just going to put us in the defensive mode when it comes to fire fighting because we have to keep the safety of the volunteers in mind,” Berg explained. “And if we have to go into a defensive mode, in other words just saving structures around a burning structure rather than going inside, certainly would be our next step if we don’t have enough volunteers to actively enter a structure and put out a blaze.”
The fire is still under investigation. Berg says the early indication for the cause of the fire is a light or heating element that may have overloaded an electrical circuit or extension cord. He issued another call for people to check electrical connections and heating sources during this cold snap.