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Two structure fires off Fish Hatchery Road provide significant challenges for firefighters Sunday

Gaston, SC 04/24/2023 (Paul Kirby) – Two reported structure fires Sunday provided significant challenges for the Lexington County firefighters tasked with fighting them. The first one was a mobile home fire that had spread to a shed on Crossfield Road in the Wild Meadows mobile home community. This fire was reported between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. The second fire turned out to be a camper in the 300 block of Kimmey Road. This is within a few miles of the first fire. It was reported at approximately 4:20 p.m.


Although firefighters had good, paved roads and streets to access the first fire, they were forced to use tanker trucks to carry water into the neighborhood that was built some years ago with no usable fire hydrants. The crews used a Joint Water and Sewer hydrant located on Fish Hatchery Road to fill their trucks, and although they train for this regularly, the rural water supply system still takes time to set up. It also requires additional firefighters to drive each of the tanker trucks required to make this system work. Even though the county’s fire engines can assist by carrying water in their tanks, each of those trucks must have its own driver too. Tanker trucks came from stations all across the south and western regions of the county and the long distances they travelled, in some cases, caused them to take some time to arrive on the scene.


Once enough trucks and drivers arrived at the burning home, firefighters were able to make quick work of putting out this fire. Despite their training and access to high-quality equipment, the home was heavily damaged by the fire that already had done significant damage prior to the arrival of firefighters. Lexington County has not released the cause of the fire but fire scene supervisors deemed the home to be a total loss as a result of the blaze.

The second fire was also reported as a structure fire but when crews arrived, they found a camper and spreading grass fire. The camper had already been destroyed by flames. The battalion chiefs enroute all had previous experiences with the conditions of Kimmey Road and warned the first due fire engines to use caution because that road is so sandy, and portions of it are very loose and soft. The road is of such poor quality that it would not hold the weight of a fully loaded fire engine. As expected, when the first engine’s driver arrived, he staged the fire truck on Fish Hatchery Road and a citizen gave him a ride on an ATV to the fire in order to do the initial size up. It was immediately determined that the fire was on the end of the road with the worst patch of sand between where the engine was staged on Fish Hatchery Road and the blaze. Because the camper had already been destroyed, it was decided that there was no need to attempt to take a fire engine through the soft sand and chance getting it stuck. All full-sized trucks were ordered to stage on Fish Hatchery Road while 4-wheel drive brush units were requested by supervisors.


Firefighters used rakes and hand tools to control the grass fire while the 4-wheel drive lighter trucks from across that region responded to assist. One came all the way from Fairview, which is approximately a 20-minute drive from Kimmey Road. Another started toward the fire from Batesburg-Leesville but that truck was released before arriving on scene. Once these smaller, lighter, all-wheel drive trucks were on scene, they were used to shuttle water down the sandy road to extinguish the fire. Because these trucks typically have much smaller water tanks than a regular fire engine, this operation took significantly more time than a fire accessible by full sized fire engines and water tankers.


Even though the firefighters faced these challenges at the fires, their training and quality equipment made it possible to overcome the challenges and put these fires out.


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