Low Country Firefighters Head to Help in Charleston - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/19/07

Low Country Firefighters Head to Help in Charleston

Firefighters prepare to help in any way they can. Firefighters prepare to help in any way they can.
With the flag at half staff, it's been a somber day at the Lady's Island/St. Helena Fire Headquarters. With the flag at half staff, it's been a somber day at the Lady's Island/St. Helena Fire Headquarters.

Firefighters throughout the area are mourning the deaths of their fellow firefighters in Charleston (see Deadly Charleston Fire Claims Lives of Nine Firefighters) and some are taking action to do what they can to help.

With the flag at half staff, it's been a somber day at the Lady's Island/St. Helena Fire Headquarters as firefighters packed a trailer full of supplies, loading generators, coolers, tents, anything that could help their fellow firefighters in Charleston.

"Everybody wants to help, when an incident like this happens, everybody wants to be a part of it," said Battalion Chief Andre Washington. "So right now, we're waiting and waiting. That's all we can do."

But while they wait to find out if they're needed, Lady's Island Fire Chief Bruce Kline, Capt. Will Vaneigh, and Beaufort Fire Chief Wendall Wilburn left in a hurry earlier today, after being called in by the state firefighter's mobilization board.

"There's a lot of confusion up there right now," said Chief Bruce Kline. "We lost nine of our brothers. The fire service here in South Carolina is extremely close. It's a close-knit family and we talk about brotherhood all of  the time. They are our brothers and they are close and it hurts."

While they're not sure what they'll be doing, they, like the rest of these firefighters, want to do everything they can to help.

"We're at their total disposal," said Chief Wilburn. "We'll do anything they request, no matter what the request will be, whether it be manning stations or working with the families."

"I hope we can relieve some stress I hope we can set a plan in place to help get this department through this tragic event," said Chief Kline.

"We'd like to get there, find out who the players are, find out the situation, and then start assessing their needs, giving them advice on what's available to them," said Chief Wilburn. "And once we know that we can, call in all the resources."

Both fire chiefs say finding more volunteers to help shouldn't be a problem.

"I got calls from guys on vacation, saying, 'I'm on my way back to Beaufort, tell me what you need, we're ready to do whatever you need,'" said Chief Wilburn.

While firefighters are trying to find out what firefighters need in Charleston, firefighters in the Low Country are waiting to lend a hand.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com 

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