Volunteer fire department unable to respond to Lipscomb house fire

LIPSCOMB, Ala. (WIAT) — A woman and her three children woke up Monday morning in Lipscomb to find their house was on fire. The Lipscomb Volunteer Fire Department was unable to respond.

“Where do we go? We ain’t got nowhere to go. We ain’t got nobody but each other!” said Stephanie McRoy who lived in the home.

She said she woke up when her alarm went off and smelled smoke. Her son smelled it too. She told him to get his things and get out of the house, then she woke up her other two children and got them out as well.

When everyone was safe, she dialed 911.

Lipscomb Mayor Brenda Renz said the dispatcher in Lipscomb sent out a tone to alert Lipscomb Volunteer Firefighters. Minutes later, the call for assistance was made to the Birmingham Fire Department.

Only one of the Lipscomb Volunteers responded and could not respond to the scene alone. The mayor said within 20 minutes, Birmingham had a crew on the way.

“This was a mutual aid call so our units are farther out than Lipscomb units would be, so that was the reason for the time delay,” said Battalion Chief Jackie Hicks with Birmingham Fire Department.

Once they were on scene, the Battalion Chief said it took time to get water from the hydrants.

“It wasn’t that they weren’t working. Different cities’ hydrants have different parts that turn different directions. And like I said, once they figured it out we got it turned on,” he said.

Mayor Renz said the nature of a volunteer fire department is that sometimes the volunteers just aren’t available. She said having more volunteers would help remedy that.

“I’m getting ready for work and I’m waking up to smoke … What is the city of Lipscomb going to do when the next house catches on fire?” asked McRoy.

The family did not have renter’s insurance and is looking for assistance. If you’d like to help, you can make a donation at any Wells Fargo Bank to the Donation Fund for Stephanie Lagail McRoy.


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