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County fire service personnel recognized for rescuing fire victims in early March

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – The Lexington County Council presented six Lexington County Fire service personnel with certificates after they risked it all to pull a woman from a burning home several weeks ago. The presentations were made at the county’s Lexington Fire Station by several of our county’s council members with other officials looking on.

Saturday, March 4, 2017 started out as do most weekend mornings in Lexington County. The weather was nice. People were out working in their yards, others were working a weekend shift, while others chose to sleep in late or lounge around their homes, just taking it easy. Just after 8:00 a.m., the calm of the morning was shattered by sirens across the central and southern portion of the county.

Folks up and down Dickert Drive, a tree lined street of modest, single family homes near Oak Grove, began dialing 911. The callers reported that there were flames and smoke pouring from a mid-sized brick house. Immediately, firefighters across the area were dispatched as were EMT’s and law enforcement officers.

While emergency resources were enroute, neighbors kept calling back to say that the cars that belonged to the home’s residents were still in the driveway. None had seen the members of the family escape, and three were feared trapped inside.

Responding firefighters reported seeing a black column of smoke rising in the sky from some distance away. Dispatchers frantically searched their computer systems for a fire hydrant close by to offer a water supply. The nearest ones were out on Augusta Road, a distance of more than 1000’ from the burning home; useless for a real fire fight.

When the first due resources arrived on scene, flames were pushing from the home. Dark black smoke was billowing from its openings. There, two cars sat in the drive, unmoved, just as they had been parked the night before; a horrifying site for experienced firefighters that know that cars in the drive normally mean people are in the home.

Quickly, the first firefighters and their officers donned their protective equipment as more firefighters arrived from further away. A fallen power line arched and sprayed lightning bright sparks across the yard as the teams advanced their hoses and went into rescue mode

More crews were arriving and setting up a water shuttle operation with tanker trucks. The firefighters would rely on these specially equipped trucks to bring water for the fight. Still others began preparing to relieve the first crews who were already inside. Dispatchers were summoning the utility company, helping reassign trucks and equipment, and sorting through the hundreds of messages flowing back and forth between the teams on the scene and responding.

In moments that seemed like hours, fire crews dragged the limp figure of a woman from the home. Another couple of adults also made it outside. EMT’s, who were on the scene assisting, were waiting to treat the victims and their injuries. Although the woman who was pulled from the home by the fire crews would eventually pass away as a result of her injuries, the two other residents would be transported to the hospital where they were treated for minor injuries.

The team of firefighters, EMTs, dispatchers, and law enforcement officers came from across the county to do what they do every day, make a difference in the lives of our citizens. They acted on their training, unselfishly risking their own safety for the lives of others.

In order to recognize the firefighters and the rest of the team who assisted with this fire, councilmembers Scott Whetstone and Darrell Hudson decided it would be appropriate to present the first in crew with a small token of appreciation for their heroic efforts during the fire. These councilmembers had some certificates made and those were presented last week.

According to a Lexington County official, Captain Michael Smith, Engineer Todd Sharpe, Engineer Franklin Brooks, F/F Christopher Hinson, F/F Shannon Davis, and F/F Matthew Hamilton were all given these certificates during the short ceremony.

In commenting regarding the presentation, Councilman Darrell Hudson said, “Every day, our public safety and law enforcement personnel go out there and do a great job keeping us safe. These six only did what any of our troops would have done. We just felt they needed to be recognized for their efforts on this particular fire. We think it’s important that we say thank you more often.”

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