Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington County firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement officers, and citizens began their official period of mourning Saturday after county fire engineer Paul Quattlebaum was killed in an accident while on duty Friday evening. Between noon and 1:00 p.m. Saturday, Quattlebaum’s body was moved from the hospital where he died to Barr-Price Funeral Home in his hometown of Batesburg-Leesville. All along the route, people paused to pay their respects as Quattlebaum and his family passed.
The procession included fire apparatus, law enforcement cruisers, units from Lexington County’s EMS, and other Department of Public Safety vehicles, all moving slowly toward Quattlebaum’s home. All had their emergency lights on and an occasional blast from a siren pierced the quiet as they made their way past the onlookers who lined the street. Those citizens roadside stood still, some cried, a few saluted, while others who were driving simply stopped to pay their respects as the somber parade passed.
In an e-mail to all county firefighters, Lexington County Fire Chief Mark Davis said that fire equipment would be posted at many places along the route as the procession passed. Davis, who has experienced tragedy in his career before, said in his correspondence, “Today will be tough, Tuesday will be even tougher,” referencing the day of Quattlebaum’s funeral.
Chief Davis also made it clear that resources are available if firefighters find themselves struggling with this loss. He reminded his staff that their firefighting family is often the best at understanding and helping one another during a loss such as this. Davis asked that station captains, “Bring your crews together, have a meal and talk to each other. Spend time together.”
Davis also said there may be visitors at some of the firestations to check on the crews. PEER teams from the SC Firefighters Association are being made available as well as other counselors if needed. “Talk to them if you need,” Davis said. “If we can do anything call. If you know of someone who needs support, let us know.”
Full arrangements and details for Quattlebaum’s funeral are available on Barr-Price's website at www.barr-price.com/notices/PaulEdwin-QuattlebaumJr.
VIDEO COURTESY: Christy Turner Hannon