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Joint effort helped stem fire damage
Social Circle police, fire departments lower fire damage
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Five Social Circle police officers responded with fire personnel to an alarm received through 911 on Tuesday in an effort that both departments said helped prevent widespread damage or injuries.

Fire and police officers arrived at a residence located on the 1100 block of Manchester Court in the Azalea Farms subdivision after receiving the emergency call at approximately 4:20 p.m. The fire was deemed accidental in nature, and water and smoke damage was contained to the kitchen area. No one was injured.

“The victim’s residence was spared any additional damage in getting the fire out quickly,” said Police Chief Terry Sosebee.

According to the fire department’s report, a woman was cooking on the stove when the fire began. When she realized she could not contain it, she evacuated at least two children before dialing the Walton County 9-1-1 Communications Center. The residence had no fire extinguisher.

Fire Chief Ken Zaydel expressed his appreciation for the assistance provided by the five officers, who included an on-duty officer and four who were at the Social Circle Police Department for a monthly agency in-service training program scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. The program was part of an agency-wide effort that helps officers reach 20 hours of training each year to maintain mandated state certifications.

In an email to Sosebee, Zaydel stated the extra assistance allowed the fire crew to focus their efforts inside the residence and quickly control the fire, while the officers maintained tasks outside the residence.

“It allowed them to get into a response mode much quicker,” Sosebee said. “Five or 10 minutes can make such a difference in the amount of damage.”

Sosebee explained a certain number of personnel must be at the site before firefighters can enter a building.

“Had the police officers not been there like that, they (firefighters) would have had to wait on firemen from the county fire department,” Sosebee said.

Both Zaydel and Sosebee agreed the incident demonstrated successful teamwork between the agencies, which, until 2012, formed a single, cross-trained public safety department.

Sosebee wrote commendations for the involved police officers: Jason Stribling, Mike Sledge, Samantha Rose, Earl Nesbitt and Glenn Ingram.