A Terrible Sad Loss

16 years 10 months ago #537 by Redneck
A Terrible Sad Loss was created by Redneck
Can I ask you people for your prayers and thought for friends and families of these men please.


CHARLESTON — The firemen of engine companies 16 and 19 moved around their station house in a daze Tuesday.

Black bands covered the badges on their uniform shirts. Grief and fatigue loomed behind their bloodshot eyes.

“We lost nine of our brothers,” said Capt. Clifton Jones, who worked at the Ashley Hall Plantation Road fire station with six of the nine Charleston firefighters killed overnight Monday.

“We love them and we’re going to miss them.”

Seven men on duty at the station roared out on board Engines 16 and 19 Monday night to battle a furniture-store fire.

“One on No. 16 came back,” Jones said. “Nobody from 19 came back.”

It was the worst thing that could happen to a fire house, losing almost an entire crew in one blaze.

A few miles away, firefighters at Charleston Fire Station 10 mourned the loss of three men from their house.

Jones, who works at the Ashley Hall station with Engines 16 and 19, was supposed to be on vacation this week. But when he heard about the fire raging Monday inside the Super Sofa Store on Savannah Highway, he came to work.

“As soon as we found out, we had somebody down and it was a major fire, everybody came back,” Jones said.

Jones did not sleep Monday night as he helped at the fire scene. Tuesday, he consoled grieving firefighters and their families. His fatigue was so deep he could not remember how long he had been with the Fire Department.

But he was doing what firefighters do for each other.

They are tight-knit bunch whose jobs require them to spend every third day away from their families, living with each other.

“That’s who you sleep next to,” Jones said. “That’s who you eat with. That’s your family.”

Jones is the son of a former fire captain. A tattoo on his left arm says “In Memory of Father,” with an angel wrapped in fire gear. A tattoo on his right arm shows the Tasmanian Devil, wearing a fire helmet and boots, surrounded by flames. “When you run out, we run in,” the inscription reads.

It was that passion and feeling that drew James Earl Drayton out of retirement two years ago, said his daughter, Jacqueline Drayton-Davis.

Drayton, 50, retired in 2005 after 30 years with the Charleston Fire Department. But the retirement was short-lived, his daughter said. He was back on the force within months. By the time he died Monday night, he had put in another two years.

“He loved it for 32 years,” Drayton-Davis said of her father.

Drayton-Davis learned about the fire on the television news Monday night and went to the scene. There, she was told her father was missing.

Drayton-Davis said her father rescued one person from the building and went back to see if any more customers or employees were inside.

“He got trapped,” she said.

Tuesday afternoon, Drayton-Davis and her husband cleaned out her father’s locker at the fire station. Fellow firefighters carried out his blue uniforms. Drayton-Davis left his helmet behind. It will be used in a memorial ceremony later this week, she said.

“He thought he was in his 20s,” Drayton-Davis said of her father. “We just weren’t expecting this.”

A few miles away, the firefighters at Fire Station 10 were mourning the loss of three crew members who rode Tower 5, a ladder truck. The entire crew was killed.

Capt. Joe Simmons sat on a couch in the garage, talking to his wife on the telephone. Inside, a fireman with soot still coating his forearms lay on the couch, watching news reports of the blaze. Another sat nearby in a chair.

People from the community delivered brownies, cards, plants and children’s drawings.

Outside the charred hulk of the furniture store, someone planted nine crosses made out of PVC pipe. Nine U.S. flags waved behind them. Others brought balloons, wreaths and bouquets of roses.

Billy Robinson, a volunteer firefighter in North, brought a wreath; he feels that all firefighters are his family.

“It hurts even though you don’t know them. I think about how close I am to the people in North. To lose one would be a tragedy. To lose nine would be unthinkable.”

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

WANT TO HELP? A fund has been set up to help the families of the nine fallen firefighters. Donations can be sent to: City of Charleston Fireman’s Fund P.O. Box 304 Charleston, SC 29402

I'm me own Grandpa

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16 years 10 months ago #46642 by witheze
Replied by witheze on topic A Terrible Sad Loss
Very sad, the roof collapsed on them? Was on our news.

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16 years 10 months ago #46645 by Celtic_Kiwi
Replied by Celtic_Kiwi on topic A Terrible Sad Loss
What a tragedy.

AKA Nikki

Tir Na NOg

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16 years 10 months ago #46647 by Jack
Replied by Jack on topic A Terrible Sad Loss

It is bad enough to lose a friend or loved one. But to lose even one who you put your life in his hands is double the devistation.
Even though I have been in the Fire Brigade, I could not begin to understand how those poor buggers would be feeling.

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16 years 10 months ago #46658 by Midge
Replied by Midge on topic A Terrible Sad Loss
These were both truly a horrific tragedies Redneck:(

I recall you mentioning that you were once a volunteer fireman and I wonder if these events occured in your neck of the woods and you knew the guys.



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16 years 10 months ago #46677 by Redneck
Replied by Redneck on topic A Terrible Sad Loss
When I go down to Charleston to see my cusin I often see some of them cos her husband is good friends with one shift. They are all realy top dudes too. Its amazing what they do in the community when they are of duty. besides those guys know how to Comfort a Southern boy like me. Druck much moonshine with some.

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