HILLSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Crews from at least seven different fire departments in the New River Valley joined together on Friday to extinguish a massive commercial structure fire in Hillsville and save several cats that were trapped inside.
According to the Hillsville Fire Department, crews responded to a report of a structure fire shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 at 1709 Howlett Street.
However, shortly after Hillsville units arrived at the two-story structure — which was engulfed in flames — they requested assistance from the Galax Fire Department, the Galax Volunteer Fire Department, the Cana Volunteer Fire Department, the Laurel Fork Fire Department, the Barren Springs Fire Department, the Meadows of Dan Fire Department, the Floyd County Fire Department in Willis and in Indian Valley, and Carroll County Fire and Rescue. The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and the Hillsville Police Department
The Galax Fire Department says their personnel arrived at the scene and found members of the Hillsville Fire Department combating the heavy flames at the rear of the 4,000 square foot commercial structure.
According to fire officials, another crew from Hillsville went into the second-floor apartment to rescue four cats. Members of Carroll County Fire and Rescue worked to resuscitate the cats, saving three out of four of them.
Within a few minutes, first responders were reportedly warned to evacuate and pulled out of the structure right as a flashover occurred.
As personnel tried to bring the fire under control, they were driven back by collapsing floor, forcing them to switch to defensive tactics.
“The nature of the construction of this facility made it impossible to reach the void spaces without putting the troops in danger. The structure was deemed too far gone to save and burned to collapse while an additional attached structure was protected,” the Galax Fire Department wrote on Facebook. “This one put the fight in firefighting with the event lasting over 5 hours.”
While numerous other New River Valley first responders were tackling the structure fire in Hillsville, officials say the Glade Creek Fire Department and the Fries Volunteer Fire Department covered two calls for them.
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