MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Pike County volunteer fireman Glenn Adkins has been chasing down fires for more than 25 years.
It's a way of life for Adkins.
"When the pager goes off, you're ready to go," said Adkins.
And that pager went off yet again early Monday morning.
"When I saw the flames come out I knew it was going to be bad day," Adkins said.
Never before has a blaze presented such a challenge like the Carter Brothers plant fire in the Hamilton Crossroads community just south of Brundidge off Highway 231 South.
It was a 'first' for Adkins.
"This was the very first fire I was in charge of," he said.
In charge of 12 volunteer fire departments and some 60 volunteer firefighters.
Under Adkins' command they fought and fought until they got control of the blaze some 7 hours after the initial call came in around 3:30 Monday morning.
"Excellent job with what we're trying to do. We got there and tried to knock it down," said Adkins.
In the end the blaze got the best of the Carter Brothers metal building which spreads over 165,000 square feet. It's important to keep in mind the fire got a head start on the firefighters. The building is a total loss, and so far the total loss of property comes to $16 million.
But that is not say Adkins and company didn't make a difference.
"We did save some of the equipment they could work with. We saved the welding department and the paint shop. It's disappointing but it's hard to get in on a fire that big," said Adkins.
In fact, company leaders reportedly were pleased with the effort by the firefighters.
"We would have loved to have done more but it's hard to when it gets a jump on you," said Adkins.
Glenn Adkins makes his living as a chicken farmer so as a volunteer firefighter, there is no pay, no benefits, no retirement.. just the thought of trying to save property and save lives is good enough.
Making a difference in the heat of battle.
It's estimated that Alabama has around 10,000 volunteer firefighters if not more.
As of this writing there is no word on what started the fire at Carter Brothers, a company in existence since 1936 and manufactures go-carts, 4-wheelers and scooters.
Company officials have told WSFA 12 News they plan to rebuild.