Sleeping Firefighter Wakes to Find Fire Station Ablaze

Firefighter Brian Eargle is accustomed to waking up to fight fires.

But Tuesday night, Eargle said he was jerked from sleep by coughing and quickly ended up having to fight a blaze at his own fire station.

Eargle managed to escape the fire, call for help and drive two trucks away from the burning building. He then pulled a hose from a fire truck parked outside to fight the blaze for about 10 minutes until his fellow firefighters could arrive and get their equipment on.

The fire, which started in the lounge of the station, did about $30,000 in damage, Lee County Fire Chief Mike Bedenbaugh said.

But it could have been a lot worse. Bedenbaugh said he is glad Eargle wasn't hurt or killed and that he managed to save the vehicles from the blaze.

"If this fire had happened at any of our other stations, then we would have lost vehicles and the entire building," Bedenbaugh said. "This is the only station where we have someone on duty 24 hours a day."

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the fire.