West Columbia, SC 05/09/2023 (Paul Kirby) – A number of fire crews from across southeastern Lexington County, as well as an EMS crew, responded to a report of an aircraft on fire Tuesday around 12:30 p.m. The original dispatch from the county’s 911 Telecommunications Center was that there was either an aircraft down or one was on fire. As the county’s first teams arrived, they were directed by the airport’s Crash, Fire, and Rescue Department to come to the UPS ramp near the intersection of Edmund Highway and Creekside Drive. When they pulled up to the gate, their initial report was that they had nothing visible from their viewpoint outside the fence.
The airport’s crash trucks pulled up to an aircraft that was parked on the UPS ramp, and they dispatched personnel to open the gate to allow the county firefighters to pull their equipment onto the ramp as well. Within just a few moments of their arrival, all of the county’s equipment except for a battalion chief and the engines out of South Congaree and Pine Grove were released from the scene to return to their stations. The remainder of the county's fire equipment stayed on site for about 45 minutes standing by before they were released from the scene .
According to Chris Jackson of SC Weather, an avid pilot and knowledgeable airplane buff, the aircraft in question was one of UPS’s MD-11 cargo jets. No flames were ever detectable from outside the gates, but the airport’s firefighters had personnel on scene for some time while the situation was being checked out.