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franklin county times

Chief: ‘It's the ultimate sacrifice'

By Staff
John Hicks FCT Staff Writer
On Feb. 21, two Moulton firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty when the outside wall of a local business that had caught fire earlier that evening collapsed on top of them.
Fire captain Lloyd McCulloch, 63, and firefighter Dustin Jones, 23, both volunteers with the Moulton fire department, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Although the worst of the flames had been extinguished, the two men were checking the damaged structure for hot spots - areas where the fire might possibly flare up again - when the wall collapsed.
The business, Outdoor Parts and Service Inc., was destroyed in the fire. Firefighters from across Lawrence County responded to the blaze, which rapidly engulfed the warehouse located near downtown Moulton.
The tragedy brought hundreds of firefighters from across the South to Moulton on Saturday to pay their respects at memorial services for the two men.
Several members of the Russellville fire department attended the Moulton services, taking one of the city's fire trucks to the funerals. Firefighters from as far away as Texas and Florida were
present.
Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell said the dangerous work of fighting fires has forged a long-standing &#8220brotherhood” among firefighters.
The Russellville fire department has 17 full-time firefighters and 12 volunteers. Last year, 107 full-time firefighters lost their lives in the U.S., according to Malone.
Fortunately, there have been no recorded firefighter fatalities in Franklin County, where volunteers play an important role in fighting fires.
Mansell said that while firefighters do not like to dwell on the risks they take, tragic incidents like last week's deaths hit close to home.
Companies composed of volunteers make up the majority of Franklin County firefighters. Russellville has the only paid fire department in the county.
Thanks to recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants totaling $180,000, the department has been able to upgrade its &#8220turnout” gear, which includes helmets, masks, hoods, gloves, pants, boots, air packs, and other items.
Mansell credited Malone and RFD Captain Steve Thornton for their work on the grant projects.
An additional $13,000 fire prevention grant from FEMA has allowed the RFD to purchase several new educational tools, including a &#8220Sparky the Fire Dog” costume, a laptop computer and a sound system to enhance fire safety presentations.
Malone urged citizens inside the Russellville city limits to take advantage of the department's ongoing smoke detector program, which provides free smoke detectors to those who can't afford them.
Due to the amount of fire damage, the cause of the Moulton warehouse blaze is still undetermined, However, preliminary reports suggest the cause of the fire was electrical.
The Citizens Bank in Moulton has opened an account to establish funds for the families of the fallen Moulton firefighters and is now accepting donations from the public.

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