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Amicks Ferry firefighters run dock fire on frigid waters of Lake Murray Monday morning

Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – Amicks Ferry firefighters were busy again first thing Monday morning when they responded to a working dock fire in the 100 block of Deerwater Run off Lake Estate Drive. The fire was dispatched shortly before 7:30 a.m. and was threatening a pontoon boat when the fire crews arrived. Ladder 11 out of Chapin’s station responded to assist the two-person crew that was on the Amicks Ferry truck. That team was able to pitch in and help with knocking the fire down.

The temperature Monday morning was hovering in the mid-twenties as the firefighters worked along the banks of the water. Winds were sustained in excess of 10 mph, and the humidity was a low 32% according to the NWS. These conditions are frightening for fire crews who know that the wind and low humidity can cause a fire to quickly spread.

Battalion One, the chief that covers the North Region including the Chapin area, inquired about the county’s fire-boat responding, but was told the boat was out of service. That equipment is run by specially trained sheriff’s deputies and is housed at the Bundrick Island facility behind Sandy Beach on the Lexington side of Lake Murray. When it’s available for response, it can make a fire attack from a monitor nozzle mounted in its bow, or can pump to fire trucks on land to refill them as they attack a fire. The boat has an independent motor that runs a fire pump that draws water through the hull of the boat from the lake.

Access to the lake side of homes along the water is often a problem. As lake property has become more valuable, the homes have been built closer and closer together preventing trucks from getting close on the lake side. Many years ago, many homes along the lake often had their own boat ramps. That has become less popular, but the absence of those ramps often means there’s no drive around access for vehicles, much less a large fire engine.

Fire engines usually have what’s called pre-connect lines and Lexington County’s are no exception. These lines are pre-connected to the fire engines and laid in specially built storage areas for quick deployment. However, these are usually limited to 150’ or 200’. If the closest parking spot for a fire engine is further away from a fire than the length of those lines, firefighters must break their hoses at couplings and manually add in more hose. This can dramatically slow the fire attack. This is often necessary if a fire truck has to park in the road or driveway and the firefighters have to extend their lines around a home and across the yard on the lake side.

The dock fire was extinguished in less than an hour. The exact cause of the blaze hasn’t been released by the fire service.

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