In an emergency situation, it is good to know we have trained personnel within our city and county fire departments to take care of it.
Last week's fiery propane explosion at McCorkle Farms off Stagecoach Road near Thomson was just one of those examples. Sadly, it claimed the life of a young rising businessman in our community, 23-year-old Jason McCorkle and injured his father, Paul McCorkle. The older Mr. McCorkle serves as a member of the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners.
Local city and county firefighters, along with volunteer firefighters from surrounding fire departments, worked well together. It was one of the finest examples of firefighters working together that I have personally seen in many years.
Three of our local fire leaders are McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services Chief Bruce Tanner, Assistant Chief Stephen Sewell and Thomson Fire Rescue Chief Rick Sewell.
They were all unsung heroes.
There were many more, too.
That group consisted of Thomson Police Chief Joseph D. Nelson and TPD Sgt. Jammie Smith, McDuffie County Emergency Medical Services' City of Thomson Gas Department Superintendent Chuck Cason and several of his men, as well as Paul and Sammy McCorkle, who attempted to do what they could to help following the tragedy.
Those who work in fire department, EMS and law enforcement circles are confronted with emergency situations on a regular basis. Even though many of them had never encountered an explosion involving an LP pipeline before, they nevertheless had been trained to handle such types of emergencies. It's actually something that area firefighters gather to learn about every August, according to Chief Tanner.
"Because of that, we were able to minimize the situation a little bit," said Dixie Pipeline Company spokesman Rick Rainey. "That was a tremendous help."
Speaking of Mr. Rainey, he and others with Dixie Pipeline Co. were just as nice as could be when speaking to those of us as reporters. Mr. Rainey was extremely helpful and answered all of our questions. He also provided helpful hints to safeguard any future tragedy when digging or excavating soil around one of his company's pipelines.
I consider him, as well as those who worked so tirelessly to repair the pipeline that interrupted services to Dixie Pipeline Co. customers from Thomson all the way to North Carolina, unsung heroes, too.
I regard those working as sub-contractors in that same light.
Because of the extensive training area firefighters have received and continue to receive every year, fortunately, the tragedy wasn't any worse than it turned out.
"It was a tragedy as it is, but it could have been a lot worse," Chief Tanner said.
Again, there were a lot of unsung heroes involved in the local emergency. And for each one of these persons, we in McDuffie County owe them a big debt of gratitude.