Firemen get award for saving woman
by The Press and Standard | July 5, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: July 3, 2018 at 11:52 am
Three Walterboro City firefighters won the S.C. Firemen’s Association 2018 Meritorious Action Award for saving a woman in an apartment fire in November 2017.
Capt. Chris Cook and firefighters Lamar Smith and Jared Jarvis responded to what they thought would be a routine fire alarm call the night of Nov. 25. They made it to the third floor before they discovered their night would be anything but routine.
“We get a lot of calls from this residence, and we thought it was just a routine call,” said Jarvis, one of the first on the scene. “We started investigating floor by floor until we came up to the third floor, and a woman came out of her apartment saying she had water coming through her ceiling. We worked our way up to apartment #410 and attempted to make contact with the resident, but nobody responded. After waiting briefly, I heard a woman call out for help … Firefighter Smith, along with several other firefighters, breached the door, using a halligan tool (somewhat like a giant crowbar) and an axe. The hallway was then filled with smoke from inside the apartment. Water was also pouring out from the bottom of the doorway.”
“We heard a lady saying help … We entered the apartment, and during a quick search of the interior, we located an elderly woman lying face down in a pool of water created by the building’s sprinkler system. We carefully removed her from the residence and placed her in a chair in the hallway and covered her up with some towels and blankets to warm her up,” said Cook. (The low temperature that night was 35.) “The sprinkler system did its job.”
After rescuing the women, further investigation discovered that the one sprinkler head, activated in the apartment, had already extinguished the fire, which had burned the side of the bed. The rest of the apartment had water and smoke damage. The water damage extended down all the way through the first floor.
“Due to the weather conditions and the water temperature coming out of the sprinkler system, this woman, who was face down in a pool of water, could have suffered a hyper-thermic injury or even could have possibly drowned, if not for their quick actions,” said Darren Vaughn, a fire chief with the Marine Corp Air Station of Beaufort who volunteers at Walterboro City Fire Department. “So, their quick actions — even though there was smoke in the room and the fire had been contained — saved her life.”