ARFD honored for heroic rescue

  • Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Provided/Robert Lehnert ARFD firefighters make entry into a burning residence on Timber Creek Dr., in North Charleston, as black smoke billows from the residence, after reports of an eldery woman screaming from inside.


“…respond for mutual aid for North Charleston to …Timber Creek Drive…possible structure fire advise there was a 90-year-old female stuck in the residence, screaming from the window, now there’s no answer, black smoke coming from the residence….”

So came the dispatch to Ashley River Fire Department June 6, at 7:32 a.m.

Units from Dorchester County’s ARFD responded to the structure fire in The Park at Rivers Edge community in accordance to its Automatic Aid Agreement with the North Charleston Fire Department (NCFD).

According to Fire Chief Scott Inabinet, the initial dispatch information reported that neighbors could hear an elderly female resident screaming for help and smoke coming from the house.

Ashley River units were first on scene, encountering heavy smoke from the second floor window of an end unit of a townhouse complex.

They quickly set about evacuating bystanders who were attempting a rescue, then entered the burning townhouse. In a coordinated effort, Lieutenant Jeff Phipps advised incoming North Charleston units of the smoke conditions and that Ashley River personnel were operating in Rescue Mode.

Entering the smoke-filled residence, Captain Scott Braun and Firefighter Nick Russo found a fire in the living room but no sign of the missing woman. After knocking down the blaze, the pair continued their search deeper into the second floor apartment where they found the victim on the floor of her bedroom.

While the two were searching, Phipps was outside operating the apparatus and directing NCFD personnel to assist with the search and rescue operation. Braun and Russo began the task of removing the woman from the poisonous environment, moving toward the front door where they met two NCFD firefighters.

The four men brought the victim down the exterior stairs and handed her off to a waiting Charleston County EMS crew.

Once the rescue was complete, firefighters from both departments worked to complete extinguishing the fire and ventilating the apartment.

The three ARFD firefighters were recently recognized for their heroic rescue by the City of North Charleston Fire Department at its accreditation celebration. at Montague Terrace, North Charleston Coliseum on Sept. 26.

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