Firefighters Here Train, Grieve for Their Fellow Firefighters - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/19/07

Firefighters Here Train, Grieve for Their Fellow Firefighters

Firefighters train in a simulated fire. Firefighters train in a simulated fire.

News of the fatal fire in Charleston (see: Deadly Charleston Fire Claims Lives of Nine Firefighters) is spreading and it has a firefighters around the nation talking and reflecting on the dangerous job they do.

Savannah firefighters were undergoing training today that seemed to take on even greater significance.

"It's a wakeup call," said Savannah firefighter Kevan Carter.

What got this firefighter's attention this morning was news that nine firefighters died in the line of duty. A blazing inferno, engulfed a Charleston, South Carolina, furniture store on Monday night, collapsing the roof, trapping and killing nine firefighters inside.

"When something like this happens, you grieve and then step back and look at the situation and try to see what we can do to prevent that from happening in the future," said Carter.

And to do that, firefighters braved the heat and humidity in their heavy fire suits for their recertification drills: climbing up ladders with equipment, rescuing possible victims and practicing fire suppression.

Even though these are drills and not real, what is real is the overwhelming sadness and concern for their fellow firefighters in Charleston.

Savannah firefighters said the reason they've lowered their flag half staff is to pay respect and show appreciation to those who lost their lives.

"It's to honor those firefighters who gave their lives in the attempts to suppress fire and rescue victims in the fire," said Savannah Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Matthew Stanley.

"It's our job and that's what we get paid to do," said firefighter Anthony Lewis. "Nobody is here by force. It's by choice and hopefully you get to go home at the end of the day."

These firefighters do get to go home today, but when they are faced with those life-or=death situations, it's these drills they hope will better prepare them.

Savannah fire officials said they are talking with the Charleston city government, offering to help in any way.

Reported by: David Hall, dhall@wtoc.com

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