Thank you to firefighters, community for your help!

Posted by Joseph T. McElveen, Jr. Friday, July 22, 2016 11:48:00 AM Categories: fire department Mayor's Minute public safety

The massive fire that blazed for two days at Sumter Casket Co. brought firefighters from all across South Carolina to Sumter. More than 20 public safety organizations from at least seven different counties across the state and more than 30 emergency vehicles were on Magnolia Street on July 18.

Under the leadership of Chief Karl Ford, Sumter Fire Department faced many challenges and extreme fire conditions. Because of the exceedingly high temperatures, the city asked surrounding communities for additional assistance and thus activated the South Carolina Firefighter Mobilization Plan.

Every day it is the fire department’s duty to provide help and safety to our community. They did just that, but on this day they found themselves on the receiving end. The aid Sumter received ranged from assistance in putting out the blaze, perimeter security at the location, assistance with everyday phone calls at Sumter fire stations, as well as help responding to other emergency calls across the entire Sumter community. Our surrounding neighbors offered additional manpower, equipment and tireless assistance without reservation, and without these brave men and women, we could have lost so much more.

Not only did the fire department receive additional public safety assistance, but it received many acts of kindness from businesses and individuals within our own community as well - bottled water, food, ice and more. These donations provided encouragement, hydration and nutrition to sustain those fighting a dangerous fire.

We all know how good our Sumter Fire Department is. The “Class 1” rating it recently earned simply verifies our pride. This fire is a prime example of why all city departments spend so much time training and maintaining equipment. And if you ever wondered why our fire and police departments are proactively establishing mutual aid agreements with departments in other communities, now you know. We strive to be prepared for every situation.

Chief Ford and I want to personally thank each and every person, business and agency that assisted Sumter. We are fortunate to live in such a supportive community and state.

Thank you!