Hometown Heroes--Beaufort Volunteers

The scene on I-10.
The scene on I-10.

Police officers and firefighters serve and protect our communities every day, but a group from Beaufort caravanning back from relief efforts in Mississippi went above and beyond.

They spent last weekend clearing debris, passing out water and doing whatever they could to help Katrina victims in Long Branch, Mississippi.

On Interstate 10 as they traveled back home, this is what officers spotted: "Thick, thick black smoke," according to Officer Charles Squires of Beaufort PD. "Fire, it looked like a plane crash at first. Explosions were going off, the whole interstate was covered with black smoke."

Although they weren't exactly sure what had happened, they rushed to the scene and were one of the first emergency crews to arrive.

"You see smoke, you see there's an emergency, and both fire and police reacted," said Beaufort firefighter. Dan Byrne "It's our jobs. We do this job because we like to help people, so it was second nature."

After finding out it was an accident between a semi and a dump truck, they immediately went into action. "I went down probably five miles in the opposite direction to help shut down the interstate," recalled Officer Squires.

While Beaufort police assisted the Florida Highway Patrol with traffic, firefighters focused on the accident scene. "There were four our five of us and two of them on scene, so we took control of their deck gun for them, pulled lines while they got their gear on," said firefighter Bob James.

"We got some of our water cans we had with us that we brought for our fire extinguishers, and me and firefighter James proceeded to put out the brush fire just to sort of assist as much as we could," recalled Daniel Lister.

Because of their actions, especially coming on the heels of a tireless weekend helping hurricane victims, they are this week's WTOC Hometown Heroes.

If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email  rwallace@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com