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County’s special building collapse team responds as car damages building near Rush’s in Lexington Sa

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) -A car ran into the steps of a building in the 200 block of Columbia Avenue in Lexington Saturday. It did some damage to the steps and railings on the building and crumpled the front of the car. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the accident.

Besides police officers that arrived quickly following the crash and an EMS crew, the county’s fire service responded with their special equipment specifically geared for a building collapse. Although most of those trucks did return to their quarters before they arrived on scene because the damage was minimal; if they were needed, they are loaded with wood, hydraulic tools, torches, and other special equipment for dealing with all aspects of a building collapse that might trap or kill people.

In the past, buildings have collapsed completely in Lexington when the tornadoes ravaged the town in the early 90’s. In other areas of the country, architectural problems and sometimes overloading and improper use have caused the complete collapse of pedestrian walkways, decks at clubs and resort, and other elements of structures as well as whole buildings. Also, how could we ever forget the instances across America where terrorist activity has destroyed buildings like the twin towers in NYC or the federal building in Oklahoma. In those cases, special equipment was needed to cut through concrete, steel rebar, and other building elements that we don’t see once the structure is complete and occupied. However, if a building is knocked or falls down, these can become major obstacles that can block access to people trapped inside for rescuers.

Even though we have had few instances of complete collapses in Lexington County, we do have these instances where cars actually hit and go completely into buildings causing structural damage that could weaken the structure, making it dangerous. Last year, a new and inexperienced driver accidentally jumped the curb and sidewalk and crashed her car into a Subway in South Congaree. No one was seriously hurt, but the car was all the way inside the store to the point that its front end was at the counter where you place your order. In cases like this, our collapse crews and equipment responded, checked the structural elements of the building, helped to ensure it wouldn’t fall, and secured it. They also were instrumental in building a small bridge across a ravine when victims from the Amtrak train crash were stuck on one side and needed to get across to the rescuers.

Few people know about these specially trained teams and equipment here. They don’t receive much press, but it is nice to know if a storm, some act of evil, or just a mistake by men,ever causes the building around you to come down, trapping you inside. Thankfully, our county’s leaders had the foresight and a commitment to public safety to put this type of team in place right here in Lexington County. Hopefully, you’ll never need these specially trained teams, but if you do, they’re well-trained, well-equipped, and ready to respond.

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