News Releases

Title: Lightening Safety
Contact: Steve Holmes, PIO
(334) 241-4166


When Thunders Roars logo

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times each year. While lightning mostly occurs during the summer months, it can happen at any time of the year.

Talk with your family about staying safe during thunderstorms. Here are just a few lightning safety tips that the NWS offers if you are indoors:

  • Stay off corded phones. You can use cellular or cordless phones;
  • Don’t touch electrical equipment such as computers, TVs, or cords. You can use the remote control safely; and
  • Stay away from windows and doors that might have small leaks around the sides to let in lightning, and stay off porches.

According to the NWS, if you are outside during a storm it is important to get inside a safe building or vehicle. You are NOT safe outdoors, but if you absolutely cannot get to safety, follow these tips to slightly lessen the threat of being struck by lightning:

  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill, or a ridge top;
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you’re in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees; and
  • If you’re in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members.

Title: Blackmon Cleared of Arson Connection
Contact: Steve Holmes
(334) 241-4166

The person who is accused of who is accused of yesterday's shooting rampage in Blount and Marshall Counties, Alabama yesterday was mentioned in many reports as a "Person of Interest" in connection to the April 10 arson fire which partially destroyed the Cedar Grove Church of Christ in Blount County.

State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk reported today that "Daniel Eric Blackmon has been cleared in all matters related to the Cedar Grove Church fire earlier this month.

The investigation into this Church arson fire continues and anyone with potential leads or information to contribute may contact the ALABAMA ARSON HOTLINE at 1-800-654-0775 or


Title: Fire Marshals Warn of Hoverboard Fires
Contact: Steve Holmes
(334) 241-4166



The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) wishes you a happy and safe holiday season. This year, self-balancing scooters, more popularly known as hoverboards, are undoubtedly the hot ticket item on many wish lists. NASFM has received reports of injuries and fires involved with these devices, and we would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some safety tips for their use, care, and maintenance to ensure a merry holiday.

When shopping for a self-balancing scooter or hoverboard:

1) Please take the time to look at and research the product you buy. If it is compliant with

federal standards, inspections, and certifications, it will have a mark on it or indicate such on its packaging, on the device itself, or on its charging equipment. Devices not bearing a mark indicating compliance likely have not been tested to meet minimum safety standards.

2) When buying online, take the time to verify that the device meets applicable standards.

There are many of these products on the market, and many may not meet this country’s inspection and safety requirements. Those that do will indicate such on the packaging, and on the device or its charging equipment.

3) Buy a device with a warranty, or buy it in person at a brick and mortar store. If you are buying online, buy from a reputable source. Also, check with your retailer regarding the safety of the device you are purchasing.

When charging your self-balancing scooter or hoverboad:

1) After it has been used, give the device time to cool off prior to charging.

2) Do not leave the device unattended while it is charging. Someone should be able to observe the device during its recharging time.

3) Do not overcharge the device; follow manufacturer’s recommended charging times and do

not leave device plugged into an outlet overnight.

4) Do not use imitation electrical chargers as they may be unsafe.

5) Keep to one plug per socket.

When operating your self-balancing scooter or hoverboad:

1) Wear appropriate safety equipment; similar to when riding a bicycle.

2) Do not text or operate a cell phone while using a self-balancing scooter or hoverboad.

3) Operate the device in accordance with its intended use.

4) Overheating if you notice the device is very hot, stop using it and check with your manufacturer or retailer. This could suggest a faulty battery that needs replacing.

As more details become available and research is conducted into these incidents, NASFM will work to help keep you informed. If you should have any fire-related incidents regarding these devices, please contact your State Fire Marshal’s Office. Have a safe holiday season.

P.O. Box 671 ? Cheyenne, WY 82003 ? Tel: (202) 737-1226 ? Fax: (307) 632-3554 ?

Contact: Steve Holmes
(334) 241-4166
Dauphin Island-

A joint investigation conducted by the Alabama State Fire Marshals Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives alongside Dauphin Island and Mobile County officials has determined the fires which occurred in the early morning hours of August 29 were ruled "accidental," according to State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk.

Paulk says the fire which occurred first and ultimately destroyed a restaurant "was traced back to a smoker grill at the restaurant."

While firefighters were busy with the business fire, a residential fire was also called in about three miles away. Before being extinguished, the second fire spread to three other houses, leading to the destruction of four homes. Again, evidence gathered during the subsequent investigation determined this fire to have also been accidental. 

"The residential fire began under a home where a boat was being repaired and spread to the other three residences before the flames could be extinguished," the Fire Marshal said.

Although there was one fatality reported during the fires, it has been determined the death was caused by a heart attack suffered by one of the residents who was attempting to salvage belongings from his burning home.  

Title: Sylacauga Man Arrested for Insurance Fraud
Contact: Steve Holmes, PIO
(334) 241-4166

A Sylacauga man was arrested Monday (6/15/2015) after an investigation by the Fraud Division of the Alabama Department of Insurance, State Fire Marshal's Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau completed their investigation into a suspicious insurance claim.

A Talladega County Grand Jury Indicted Brantley Pearson Shaw, 27, of Sylacauga last week for allegedly filing a false claim against Progressive Insurance Company. 

Shaw is accused of being involved in a single vehicle accident involving his 2008 Harley Davidson Motorcycle on April 5, 2014 in Childersburg, prior to purchasing insurance on the vehicle. Hours after the accident, records indicate the accused purchased an insurance policy on the motorcycle from Progressive. Six days later, a claim was filed for damages estimated at more than $5,000 for an accident that was reported to have happened on the same day, April 11.

Documents and interviews led to the Shaw's indictment for Insurance Fraud, First Degree, which can carry a penalty of from two to twenty years in prison upon conviction.