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$100,000 House Fire in RBS PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debbie Gregory   
Tuesday, September 2, 2014


A call came in around 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, August 28, that the home of Mayor Willie Brown, in Red Boiling Springs, was on fire. His residence is located at 527 Bennett Hill Road.

“The Red Boiling Springs Fire Department was dispatched to the scene of a structure fire at 527 Bennett Hill Road that was reported to have smoke coming from the roof,” said RBS Fire Chief Randy Hagan. “We quickly responded and upon arrival we found heavy smoke coming from all vents in the attic area, with no flames visible at the 1,800 square foot one-story wood frame home.”

Chief Hagan stated that upon his request for mutual aid on Thursday, neighboring fire departments from Lafayette and Mt. Vernon responded offering their assistance.

The chief said after making entry to make sure no one was in the house, flames came through the ceiling in the kitchen area. “We immediately extinguished the flames and contained the fire to the attic area. All contents in the home sustained heavy smoke and water damage and we remained at the fire site until it was determined that all hot spots were out,” said Chief Hagan.

Unfortunately, at 5:45 a.m. on Friday morning, the fire rekindled and the RBS Fire Department was called back. “This time the residence was fully involved with flames shooting in the air,” said Chief Hagan, “and we requested mutual aid from the Lafayette Fire Department once again.”

A spokesman for the Lafayette Fire Department stated that on Thursday they dispatched an engine, tanker and five firefighters to the fire scene and on Friday the department sent a tanker and six firefighters.    

Hagan said his crew returned again that afternoon to douse the hot spots.

“The home was completely destroyed and the estimated property loss was $100,000,” added Chief Hagan.

“I would like to thank Lafayette Fire Department and Mt. Vernon Fire Department for responding to our mutual aid request,” said Chief Hagan. “I  would like to commend all the firefighters involved for a job well done, despite the extreme heat and humidity. I certainly appreciated all their hard work.”

Those responding to the scene were the Red Boiling Springs Fire Department, Lafayette Fire Department, Mt. Vernon Fire Department, Red Boiling Springs Police Department, Macon County Sheriffs Office, Macon County EMS and the Macon County Chronicle.

 (See page A-8 for the destroyed home pictured the following day.) 

Phil Russell Selected as New 911 Director PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debbie Gregory   
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Phil Russell

Phil Russell, age 48, of Lafayette, was selected last week as the new 911 Director, following the departure of  Steve Jones, who was elected as the Macon County Mayor in August.

Director Russell resigned from the Macon County Sheriffs Office as a detective to fill this new role. Bedsides the MCSO, Phil has worked for the Lafayette Police Department, RBS Police Department, and also as a police advisor in Iraq for almost five years. “I have been back at the Sheriffs Office for 22 months,” said Russell.

“I am honored to be selected from some well qualified applicants,” said the new director. “I am excited to be working with all the emergency services together. I plan to work very hard to continue what Steve Jones has done with the 911 communications and I want to provide the best service possible for our citizens.”

 Phil Russell is married to Tina and together they have six grown children.

Meth Labs Discovered on East Side of County PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jessie Williams   
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Site of meth lab on Taurus Farm Road

Macon County Sheriffs Department detectives recently discovered the location of two meth operations on the east side of Macon County.

According to Chief Deputy Bryon Satterfield, the most recent lab was found in the Old Lake Road area while detectives searched for a wanted suspect.

“After receiving consent to search for the suspect, officers located several bottles used for the shake & bake method of manufacturing methamphetamine in a crawl space located under the home,” Satterfield stated.

A further search of the residence led to the discovery of another lab next to a fire pit on the property and additional labs inside a small barn. A backpack, which contained components used in the manufacture of meth, was also found in the barn.

One arrest was made and the case is under further investigation.

The week earlier, officers found themselves at a similar scene on Taurus Farm Road, while making a home visit to a resident on probation. 

While looking around to ensure the resident was in compliance with his probation, officers located a trashcan that contained components used to manufacture methamphetamine, including coffee filters and ammonia nitrate.
After completing their search of the property, Richard Murphy was arrested and booked at the Macon County Jail for the manufacture of meth. The case is still under investigation.

In both cases, local meth tech Darrell Taylor was called to the scene, and the Tennessee Meth Task Force assisted in the clean-up.

If you have any information about the use or manufacture of methamphetamine, contact the Macon County Sheriff’s Department at 666-3325.


Outside Emergency Warning Sirens Being Installed in Macon County PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debbie Gregory   
Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Last Saturday morning, I drove several miles out the Galen Road to the museum, where McCord Communications of Alabama, was installing one of the outside emergency warning sirens that is a part of the $3,058,970 disaster recovery grant Macon County received following the 2008 tornado.

“As part of the disaster recovery grant money we received in 2013, these 14 sirens are being installed by McCord Communications, out of Alabama,” said 911 Director and Mayor-elect Steve Jones. “They started installing them last week and they should be finished by Labor Day and have them operational.”

Jones said these 14 sirens will be scattered all around Macon County to try and give as many of the citizens as they can a warning signal for impending bad weather. “I want to emphasize that they are outdoor emergency warning sirens,” he said. “That means they are designed for people outdoors to alert them when there is a tornado threat.”
“They will be tested the first Saturday of every month around noon,” Jones said. “They are designed to work off a National Weather Service polygon, so if a storm track is tracking thru the west side of the county it will set all the sirens off on the west side and not the east. That is how they work.”

Jones said they are putting approximately $325,000 in fourteen warning sirens in the controller system where they will all be activated together along with the seven that the City of Lafayette has. “We hope everyone will bear with us as we are testing them,” added Jones. “Every school has an emergency siren now and we have partnered with NCTC to put some of these warning sirens on their properties.”

These are battery operated systems so if the current cuts off they will still operate. The batteries are charged by solar power, all but one.

According to Jones, everybody in the community wants these put up. “Unfortunately there is no way that we can put these sirens at every location, but we are installing them in heavily populated areas or places that have a previous history of tornadoes in the area.”

“Everybody so far seems to be very happy that the warning sirens are being installed in their communities and we want to emphasize once again, that they are outdoor sirens. You may not hear them in your house sometimes, but if you are outside that is what they are for.”

 The locations include Rocky Mound, Siloam, Green Grove, Hillsdale, Maple Grove, Green Valley, Willette, RBS, Bethany, Galen, East Stinson, Gap of the Ridge, Drapers Cross Roads, Eulia and Beech Grove. 

Winding Stairs Project is Not Dead! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debbie Gregory   
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Winding Stairs Waterfall

The City of Lafayette didn’t receive the RTP grant for Winding Stairs Nature Trails & Park, however Mayor Richard Driver would like to reassure everyone that the project is not dead.

“The City of Lafayette applied for a grant to construct walking trails and a park at the Winding Stairs location and unfortunately we didn’t receive it,” Mayor Driver said last week. “Although we are disappointed, it really hasn’t changed our position on wanting to develop Winding Stairs into a park, therefore we will move forward. We are looking at this as a temporary set back and we are going to explore other funding options.”

The Mayor said he has been talking with the Upper Cumberland Development District to see what kind of programs the city can apply for with them. “Of course I have talked to Representative Kelly Keisling and he is going to help us with that,” said Mayor Driver. “Keisling supports the park and I think he was just as disappointed that we didn’t get the grant as we were.”

“We are going to go ahead and form “Friends of Winding Stairs” and we want to get the community involved with the project,” continued the Mayor. “That way if anybody wants to volunteer to work on the park or make donations they can contact the organization.”

Mayor Driver wants to get the civic organizations involved like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and he is also looking at the Rotary Club, Lions Club and other services that he thinks will help out.

“Right now, what we are going to do is look at the park from a different view since we didn’t get the grant,” he said. “We will be talking to the school system to see if the Interact Club would like to be volunteers to help develop the park. We are going to look at it and say ‘what trails can we make now’, to get something established. Also one thing the city is going to look at is making the road a little bit better, more accessible.”

“We are going to go ahead and see how much we can develop. We are not going to abandon it, not going to get out of it, and not going to stop it, we are going to keep it going,” the Mayor said. “If the community wants to help by donating money to the “Friends of Winding Stairs” we will be able to do more.”

According to Mayor Driver, the city is going to reapply for the RTP grant and as he said he is talking with Upper Cumberland to see what other grants that might be available for the park project. “I’ve had people come up to me and when I told them that we didn’t get the grant, they said ‘we’ll see if we can help you’, and I said that is what it is going to take for it to happen right now - the community to support it both volunteering and financially.”

 “If we can get the support, the project will move a lot faster.”

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