Assisting Columbia | News | The Press and Standard

by | October 7, 2015 3:44 pm

SENDING HELP TO COLUMBIA.

National Guardsmen fill up tankers with water at the Walterboro municipal garage on Robertson Boulevard (above.) At right, Colleton County Fire-Rescue personnel assist in keeping one of Columbia’s large hospitals open. The local team shuttled water continuously for nearly a day and a half. On Monday, fire-rescue sent additional personnel to relieve the firefighters who had answered the initial call for help.

Local teams help keep hospital open, provide tankers of water

By GEORGE SALSBERRY
gsalsberry@lowcountry.com
Columbia, one of the South Carolina cities feeling much of the wrath of Hurricane Joaquin, needed local help in weathering the storm.
The rising waters, caused by over two feet of rain, knocked out the city’s water system.
The National Guard was deployed to assist Columbia residents to cope with the loss of potable water, handling the distribution of bottled water to residents and getting usable water to the community from other sources.
One of those sources was Walterboro. On Monday and Tuesday, National Guard water tankers arrived at the Walterboro municipal garage on Robertson Boulevard to meet members of the Walterboro Fire Department.
A fire hose was hooked up to a nearby hydrant and, one by one, seven tankers were filled with water.
Walterboro Fire Chief Wayne Lake said the tankers moved 10,500 gallons of water from Walterboro to Columbia to aid in the effort.
Colleton County Fire-Rescue sent five tanker trucks to Columbia Sunday, part of a state-wide deployment of 35 tanker trucks to provide a water supply should the Columbia Fire Department need to battle a blaze.
Shortly after arriving, the task for the Colleton County firefighters and equipment was altered — they would be responsible for providing the water supply necessary to keep one of Columbia’s large hospitals open.
The local firefighters were the only line of defense the city had to keep from having to evacuate the patients from the 1,000-bed medical facility.
Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy  said the local personnel and equipment was deployed through the South Carolina Firefighter’s Mobilization System operated by the state’s Fire Marshal’s Office.
The local team shuttled water continuously for nearly a day and half. On Monday, fire-rescue sent additional personnel to relieve the firefighters who had answered the initial call for help.
Tuesday morning, the Columbia Fire Department released the Colleton County team to return home.

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