Crossville firefighters responded to a massive warehouse fire in Cookeville for mutual aid and used Crossville’s new ladder truck to battle the blaze. Crossville was on the scene for more than four hours. Deputy Fire Chief Chris South said the departments all worked well together battling the blaze. (Lindsay McReynolds/Herald Citizen)

Crossville Deputy Fire Chief Chris South and two firefighters traveled to Cookeville early Tuesday morning with the city’s new ladder truck to help battle a massive blaze at the old Wilson Athletic Building in the downtown area.

“We were called out at about 1:30 this morning for mutual aid in Cookeville to help with a fully involved warehouse. We all kind of rely on each other and Cookville’s tower truck is out for repair. So we were the first ladder truck called in to respond,” South said.

He said Putnam County, Livingston and Monterey fire departments also responded to the fire.

“It was a large fire in about a 20,000 square-foot warehouse. At the peak point with all departments on the scene I would say were spraying 6,000 gallons of water per minute for about four hours. We easily used over 1 million gallons of water,” South said.

The Herald-Citizen reported the cause of the fire is unknown at this time and the state bomb and arson squad was called in to assist with the investigation due to the amount of loss and complexity of the structure.

South said the departments all worked well together battling the blaze.

“We have a good working relationship with all of the Upper Cumberland departments. We’re in a coalition together, and we work together well,” South said.

He said he and the firefighters were proud to represent Crossville.

“Everything ran flawless and there were no injuries. We are very blessed to have good equipment in Crossville and have a city council, mayor and city manager who are very supportive of our department. We are blessed and it’s good to have good equipment,” South said.

He said the firefighters and truck returned to Crossville around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Gary Nelson may be reached at

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