Chatham County Firefighters Return to Huge Wildfire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/25/07

Chatham County Firefighters Return to Huge Wildfire

Fire trucks file out of the Pooler Fire Department Wednesday. Fire trucks file out of the Pooler Fire Department Wednesday.

The flames continue to rage down in southern Georgia, and the weather isn't helping. Other help is on the way from right here at home, though. A caravan of half a dozen fire trucks and crews from four different departments are ready to get to work.

Packing up their gear at the Pooler Fire Department Wednesday afternoon, the firefighters from Tybee Island, Garden City, Port Wentworth and Pooler were getting ready for what promises to be a tough trip...again.

"How many of you went last week?" said CEMA deputy director Dan Stowers, addressing the crowd. "Half of you?"

Many of these firefighters just got back from Waycross a few days ago.

"We were hoping we wouldn't have to do it, but we're more than happy to fill the request," said Stowers.

Keith Kiser, with the Port Wentworth Fired Department, said, "I feel we can accomplish a lot more by going down again."

Others haven't seen anything like it yet in person, and are trying to keep from getting overwhelmed.

"Keep the basics," laughed Pooler firefighter Bear Fields. "Put the wet stuff on the hot stuff and you can't go wrong."

With a fire this big, they're being told to go against their instincts in certain cases.

"You shouldn't be doing any interior firefighting. The fire gets into the house, that's it," said Stowers. "Your job is, you're there to make sure it goes around the house."

These firefighters say they have no problem going down to Waycross to help, because they know if the roles were reversed, Waycross would be up here.

"These are the same firefighters you're going to help that are going to be up here if we get hit by a hurricane," said Stowers. "It's that simple."

That's why many of them say they'll go back yet again if need be.

They expect a tough fight, only half joking when they told WTOC that if we don't get rain soon, the Atlantic Ocean's the only thing that might stop the fire.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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