By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
The Cherokee Fire and Rescue Department, along with seven other departments and several police and emergency agencies, fought and contained a fire in Sylva on Saturday, Aug. 16. Cherokee firefighters and emergency personnel, along with a large ladder truck, played a critical role in control and containment of the fire.
The old Hooper’s Restaurant building on Main Street was the structure primarily engulfed in flame with adjacent buildings being damaged with heat and smoke.
Cherokee Fire Chief Curtis Arneach states, “We were the first ladder truck on scene and took over aerial operations on the Main Street side of the structure. We ventilated the structure and then moved to a defensive stature, proceeding to assist the other Departments in suppression. The Cherokee Fire and Rescue Department was on scene within 15 minutes, and ended up with 10 Fire Fighters responding. I am very proud of our team’s response and performance. No one wants to be called, but we are always ready and willing to assist our neighbors when we are needed.”
EBCI Deputy Operations Office Forrest Parker, expressed pride in the capabilities of Cherokee Fire and Rescue. “The entire Cherokee Fire and Rescue Department deserves a pat on the back. To be able to support our mutual aid partners and our local communities with such efficiency is something to be proud of. I am honored to work with this team of men and women who dedicate such a huge part of their lives to this job. While we are always struggling to add resources and meet needs, it’s rewarding to know that the Cherokee communities are supported by such a team. “
Traffic in the downtown area has been detoured around the damaged areas for those travelling to and through Sylva. Many of the town businesses are open for business with only those near the fire scene closed while debris is removed and clean up continues. The fate of those businesses closed due to damaged buildings has not been determined. At press time, the fire was still under investigation.