Gaston, SC – Several working fires, along with car crashes and thunderstorms, kept the county’s fire and EMS resources busy yesterday afternoon and evening. At one point, almost every fire station in Lexington County was either committed to an emergency or on standby at an empty station as the calls rolled in back-to-back.
The first calls were for car accidents near The Ledger’s studios in South Congaree. One was reported at 1251 Main Street and a second caller reported another crash closer to Princeton Road. It was unclear as of this writing if this was one accident or two because of their proximity to each other.
While equipment from South Congaree and Edmund were committed in this area, a house fire was reported in the 300 block of Ezra Jumper Road east of Swansea. When the first due units arrived on that scene they reported flames coming through the roof of the garage of the home.
Because there are no fire hydrants in the area, Battalion 2, the first line supervisor out of South Congaree transmitted a second alarm for water tankers and firefighters. A supply line was established and firefighters initially went on the offensive. As conditions changed, the chief ordered them out and a defensive attack was used. The home was heavily damaged by the fire.
During the height of the Swansea fire, every county fire station east of I-20 had resources committed in some way. There were still trucks and manpower on the South Congaree wrecks scene and some stations from as far away as Round Hill were moving up to fill in the empty stations.
As the fire attack was underway in the southeast, another structure fire was reported on Porth Circle off Brady Porth Road north of Lexington. Callers advised the dispatchers that an active domestic dispute was in progress and the fire was a result of that situation.
Fire officers advised all responding firefighters to standby away from the scene until Sheriff’s deputies arrived and took the suspect in the domestic dispute into custody. When the firefighters were finally allowed to proceed into the fire, the home was well involved.
A water supply was established to a fire hydrant that closed the area to traffic. Trucks were blocking many of the roads as the fire hose was filled across the streets.
Eye witnesses on the scene said that a man that was fighting with his girlfriend drove a car into the garage of the home that was located near Lake Murray. He then set the car on fire and that fire spread to the home.
At this point, most of the fire resources north of I-20, with the exception of the equipment and manpower out of Chapin, were committed to this fire. The fire service duty officer had been called to come back in and he requested that a truck with manpower from the Irmo Fire District be moved to Lexington for standby. He also had a truck and personnel with equipment move out of Batesburg-Leesville into the county.
At about the same time, thunderstorms rolled into the county from the northwest and hit the Chapin and Irmo areas first. Firefighters were dispatched to a number of powerlines down calls as the winds buffeted the area.
The West Columbia and Cayce departments responded to a call at an apartment complex on North Lucas Street. The received assistance from the city of Columbia Fire Department, but fire officials quickly marked that emergency under control.
As is usually the case, the county’s emergency services worked seamlessly to provide exceptional service during a trying time. Telecommunications operators dealt with a heavier than normal call volume as they usually do when storms strike.
Police officers, EMS crews, and firefighters all responded quickly and brought the emergencies under control. Although the resources of the emergency services could and should be bolstered by additional personnel in the coming months and years, the people of Lexington County were kept safe by the dedicated servants assigned to our streets and roads.