Firefighter spots blaze on hospital roof - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighter spots blaze on hospital roof

Albany 24, 2003

Albany--A sharp eyed Albany Firefighter is being hailed as a hero. He spotted smoke billowing from the top of Phoebe Putney Hospital last night, and ended up putting out a fire before it could cause much damage.

Buddy Paul has been with the Albany Fire Department for 38 years. Even from a mile away, he knew something was wrong at Phoebe Putney Hospital. Paul said "I was on the way back to the station, on the bypass at North Jefferson and when I topped the bridge I saw a heavy column of smoke in this direction. I said I need to go see what that is, because it looks like it's coming from the top of Phoebe."

A light being used in construction at the hospital had fallen over onto the tar roof, and started a fire. Paul, a battalion chief, went to the hospital roof to investigate.

 Paul said "By the time we got here , we had flames three or four foot. The light was laying face down, the stand had burned up completely. The tar had caught on fire. We ran to the door, got a fire extinguisher. I had called to the truck to bring me a hose, and we tied on to the stand pipe and wet it down. So just a couple of minutes after we got here we had the fire under control."

Paul says burning roof tar is hard to extinguish, so catching the fire early saved a great deal of damage, maybe even lives. Phoebe Construction Manager Robert Preston said " It was caught in time, and we are all very relieved. Glad that Buddy caught it when he did."

The damage to the Phoebe roof is minor....thanks to Buddy Paul. But the 61 year old firefighter is modest. Paul said "I don't feel like a hero by no means. I'm glad I was in the right place at the right time. We got the job done, and that's what we get paid to do."

The Phoebe roof where the fire occurred is ten stories high.

posted at 4:17 by jimw@walb.com

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