Multiple departments battle blaze in Vinemont

Firefighters battle a blaze in Vinemont Friday evening. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

VINEMONT, Ala. – Multiple agencies including fire departments from Vinemont-Providence, West Point, Falkville, Battleground, Cullman and Gold Ridge responded early Friday evening to a structure fire off U.S. Highway 31 just south of Hurricane Creek Park. The structure involved was a a large metal building once a large mulching business, now holding old wooden pallets, plastic bags and mulch.

The fire led to the closure of all four lanes of Highway 31 in the area.  At 10:15 p.m. the highway re-opened.

Firefighters on the scene said they expect the blaze to continue to burn throughout the evening.

According to a Cullman City firefighter, the metal building was filled with old wooden pallets and as the roof began to collapse it created a situation similar to a kindling fire.

Cullman Fire Rescue Division Chief of Operations Darren Peeples explained, “We’ve got that track hoe coming and if he’ll open up the building, they’ll boost the water. Right now, there’s a water problem. We just don’t have enough water to put on it.”

Vinemont-Providence is in charge of the scene and declared the fire a defensive fire so no firefighters entered the structure. A report is expected at a later time.

According to neighbors who were on the scene, the property owner lives out of state. The building has been abandoned since the closing of the mulch business years ago.

One neighbor said, “I’ve run so many people off from up here. It died down but it started back this summer.”

The caretakers and neighbors both reported that no power was running to the property and there were no afternoon storms producing lightning.

While no official cause of the fire has been determined, the neighbors say they suspect trespassers, possibly squatters, could be the culprits.

“We kept police officers up here all the time. As many people that scrap up here that we don’t know, who knows.”

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Christy Perry