Seven firefighters from several Limestone County volunteer departments were taken to the hospital Saturday for heat exhaustion after they collapsed while fighting a house fire in western Limestone County.

“It was real hot,” said Clements Fire Chief Jesse Rager. “We had people overheat and go down on the ground. They sweat so bad, they get dehydrated.”

It was one of the hottest days of the year, with some reporting temperatures as high as 99 degrees. Add to that several pounds of firefighting gear, heat from the fire and perspiration from fighting the fire, and the body exhausts quickly.

The seven firefighters were taken to Athens-Limestone Hospital to be hydrated and checked by a doctor. Six were treated and released Saturday. One, from the Owens department, was held overnight.

“Just to be on the safe side, they kept him,” Rager said.

Seven volunteer fire departments were called about 1 p.m. to the house on Augusta Lane, off Snake Road and west of Wright Road. Neither Rager nor the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department had an address for the house.

Firefighters from Clements, Tanner, Owens, Pleasant Grove, Rogersville, Elgin and Segers responded. Clements, Owens and Tanner brought fire trucks and Rogersville brought a tanker truck. The rest brought firefighters to replace others when they became exhausted. An emergency medical crew was at the scene on standby.

The home’s occupants, whose names were not available, escaped unharmed. The cause of the fire is unknown.

“When we got here, the entire attic was on fire,” Rager said. “The house was about 100 years old and it was wood construction, so it burned fast.”

Though firefighters were able to save some walls, the house is not salvageable.

“It is a total loss for all purposes, but we were able to save some of their personal belongings,” Rager said.

Though the fire was quelled by about 2:30 p.m., firefighters were still putting out hot spots until about 8 p.m.

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