By Lebanon Mayor PHILIP CRAIGHEAD
I stood and watched as a Lebanon institution burned on Friday. Tucker Sausage, a local business for 70-plus years, ignited the sky. I've lived in Lebanon for 40 years and felt a deep sadness for our loss and theirs.
A fire this large is a challenge, but if you have to battle the elements also, you have a real fight on your hands. The water used to fight the blaze was freezing the equipment to the bodies of the Lebanon Fire Department firefighters and the water under their feet was becoming a solid sheet of ice. No amount of strength can help you stand your ground.
Our community jumped in to support our firemen. Wilson County Schools Director of Transportation Steve Spencer brought in a bus for our fire crew to warm in as they rotated off the fire hoses. Mapco came in with plenty of coffee. Holly McCorkle, Little Ceasars, David's Pizza, Domino's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Whitt's Barbecue made sure the crew had nourishment. WEMA (Wilson County Emergency Management Agency) sent their mechanic to help unthaw lines on our pump truck. Our community understood the extreme circumstances and was willing to do whatever was necessary to assist.
I watched as the surplus equipment and materials was put to the test, grateful to have received some of it at no cost. I watched as our Public Safety Officers (PSO's) grabbed their gear out of the trunks of their cars and used their cross training, grateful for the reserves. Fire Chief Chris Dowell's leadership skills are superb and I was confident we were in good hands. Our firemen worked as succinctly as a fine oiled machine to bring this monster of a fire under control. Our City of Lebanon utilities personnel (Gas and Water) and Middle Tennessee Electric enacted emergency plans. Many well-trained individuals came together to protect us.
Since I've been in office, I've been on site for a major drug bust, a shooting with our SWAT Team at work, a bomb threat and a major fire. You can be assured your city's resources are ready and able to address our needs.
When the blaze was reduced to smoldering embers, I was thankful for no loss of life. Hopefully, the Tucker family will rebuild. As I buy their products in the future, I will have a different appreciation and perspective.