Hudson Malone fire was great training - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hudson Malone fire was great training

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Rookie fireman David J. Smith Rookie fireman David J. Smith
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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  When people apply to become firefighters, they know just what they're in for. But not every fire is fought the same.

On Monday, when the Albany Fire Department responded to the Hudson Malone Towers, specific skills and training came into play as they evacuated nearly 100 elderly and disabled residents.

Albany firefighters will tell you they were only doing their jobs on Monday, but they'll also admit it's not the type of call they get everyday.

The fire at Hudson Malone wasn't all that big, but the process of getting to the fire while clearing the building, was.

"I mean, they were panicking. One guy literally jumped out of his chair." 10 year Veteran Pamela Fletcher says she's only responded to one other situation like this during her tenure at AFD, and that clearing out 100 elderly and disabled residents was a difficult task.

"Bringing them down four flights of steps, running back up, getting one after the other and then going to the fire, it was pretty exhausting."

But she had help from her co-workers, including Rookie David J. Smith. Just as he arrived back at fire headquarters to talk to me about his role at Hudson Malone, he got called out again, to an attic fire on West Gordon.

"Second day, second call," he said.

This fire was a pretty simple call. Smith's first was anything but ordinary. "First call was Malone-Towers, we evacuated close to 100 people out of it, had a stove-top fire, put the fire out and then I assisted evacuating a wheelchair bound woman from the 5th floor to the ground floor."

Smith is humble about his role, calling it "part of the job."

But his boss, Fire Chief James Carswell, says he's proud of his entire crew for putting their training into action. "It's really just a plan laid out and then you have to exercise that when the plan comes in."

Getting everybody out and to safety. "That's my primary concern. Safety first, get everybody out," said fireman Donald Jackson.

A good day on the job, even while learning it. "Co-workers are great. They're all showing me the ropes right now, teaching me everything I need to know."

To take care of the needs of others.

28 apartments are still in the process of having water removed and being repaired. It will likely be at least December 22nd before some of those residents can return.

The primary difference is that the Central Corridor is now available for re-occupancy.  Most of these units were made available yesterday afternoon and the last few will be made available this morning.  There were three residents who stayed at a hotel last night.  Twenty eight residents are still unable  to return to their apartments.  Most have secured temporary arrangements with family, friends, or other sources. 

The Albany Housing Authority says that the primary difference is that the Central Corridor is now available for re-occupancy. Most of these units were made available yesterday afternoon and the last few will be made available Thursday morning.

There were three residents who stayed at a hotel last night. Twenty eight residents are still unable to return to their apartments. Most have secured temporary arrangements with family, friends, or other sources.

The Red Cross continues to assist those with no where else to stay. Last night, three residents were put up into hotels.

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