Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department's second team of personnel deployed to South Carolina pulled into Fire Administration around 6:00 Sunday night.
They were greeted by family members, co-workers, and Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks. The first team arrived home Saturday afternoon.
"I'm extremely proud of our two rescue teams that represented our department in South Carolina," said Chief Foulks. "We are happy that all of them returned home safely."
The first MFRD team consisted of Captain/Shift Inspector Clay Walls, Captain Gary Hutchinson, Driver Jeremy McCullough, and Firefighters Mark Brewer and Jeremy Spivey. They arrived in Columbia on Sunday, October 4 with one of MFRD's medium rescue units, a rescue boat, and an inflatable raft. During the course of their deployment, the team spent a lot of time going door to door conducting welfare checks. They rescued a total of 21 people and six dogs.
"It truly was a wonderful experience for all of us. We feel very fortunate to have been able to help the people of South Carolina," said Captain Clay Walls.
MFRD's second team arrived in Columbia on Thursday, October 8 to relieve the first crew. Drivers Chris Ayers, Doug Inglish, Josh Oliver and Chase Martin, and Firefighters Steve Ellison, Jacob Follis, Matt Welcome, and Mitchell Whittenburg were sent on assignment to Georgetown around 3:00 Friday morning. "We were one of three teams in Georgetown," said Team Leader Josh Oliver. "We spent a lot of time assisting the National Guard, running missions, and helping victims retrieve items such as medications from their residences."
Oliver went on to say, "It was a truly humbling experience. Everyone was thankful for our assistance and very generous. The people of Georgetown and Columbia, South Carolina will always have a special place in our hearts."
The team was relieved from assignment on Saturday morning and sent back to Columbia to begin the demobilization process. While travelling through Conway, SC, a multi-vehicle crash resulted in a car coming to rest against the front of the MFRD rescue truck. MFRD personnel immediately jumped into action, extricating one victim, and providing medical care to the other victims until the local units could arrive on scene. No MFRD personnel were injured and the unit was not damaged.
A message was sent to MFRD's Facebook page from Michaela and James Schrader of South Carolina regarding the incident, "My husband and I were behind the fire truck that was involved in the accident in Conway, SC on October 10th. I believe it was one of your fire trucks. We just wanted to let you know that we are amazed and thankful how your [personnel] handled the situation. Within seconds of the accident they were on the scene and treating people. We have never seen such professionalism and teamwork. If God forbid, we were ever in an accident I would want a team like them to be there for us...they were truly AMAZING! Please pass along our thoughts and prayers to everyone that was involved, you certainly have a fire department to be proud of!"
"This is just one of many positive Facebook messages we received from our new 800+ Facebook followers from South Carolina," said Foulks. "The outpouring of thanks on our page from those living there or those that have ties there has been heartwarming."
"Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the people of South Carolina as they move forward in the recovery process," Foulks continued. "We are honored to have been a part of that process."