SC Firefighters Honored for Flood Rescues

Oconee Co. firefighters at the Statehouse Wed. with Oconee Co. Sen. Tom Alexander.

Fire departments and rescue agencies from across South Carolina were honored at the Statehouse Wednesday for their efforts during and after last October’s flooding. It was part of the annual Fire Service Legislative Day at the Statehouse.

The South Greenville Fire Department was honored, as part of the Greenville County Fire Department. Lt. Jeremy King, with South Greenville, says they were deployed to Columbia and rescued people who had been trapped in their homes by the floodwaters. “There were a few moments where they were anticipating one of the dams breaking, and that got a little tense for a little while, but some more reports come in, the dam wound up holding, so the area where we were at, we continued what we were doing,” he says.

The rescues were different from the swift-water rescues they train for, because the floodwaters were calm. Instead of working in rivers, the firefighters were wading through areas where they had no idea what was beneath them, making it dangerous. “When you throw water on a residential street and you’re looking at the roof of a house where the water line is at the gutter, that presents a whole new world of challenge. So you don’t know what’s under you. You’re going over the top of cars, fences, basketball goals become issues. So you have to have a keen awareness of your surroundings,” he says.

Oconee County Emergency Services was also honored for its rescues. It was deployed to Dorchester County. Deputy Director Scott Krein says, “We actually were performing some swift-water calls and actually were able to rescue a family and their animals.”

One family still had power to their house, but the water was about to hit the electrical box, putting everyone there in danger. They were able to rescue them, though.

“We’re very lucky in that we have a good water rescue team, and they, the members there get to train and don’t actually get to do a lot of actual rescues, and so by having this opportunity to help others and use their training, it really worked out,” he says.

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