By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Victims of a motorhome fire that claimed the lives of four show dogs and a cat have nothing but good things to say about first responders. Sharla Foster was among the folks traveling to a dog show July 22. Their RV caught fire along South Carolina’s Interstate 95. Folks on board noticed flames shooting out from near the wheels and pulled off on the freeway shoulder.
The scene must have been unimaginable as flames blasted the motorhome. Foster and others scrambled to try and get the animal passengers free. They got eight of the 13 animals out before the flames beat them back. The situation was grave enough that firefighters had to shut down the northbound lanes for a half hour while trying to get a handle on the situation.
After the fire, Sharla wrote, “The law enforcement officers, the firemen, the paramedics, the people who stopped to give aid before the first responders could get there, all went above and beyond to help us and you can truly be proud of the folks in your county. I will always remember them with great affection. You are very lucky to have such wonderful people as your first responders,” Foster said.
Just what constituted the “above and beyond” that these responders went to? First responders not only took care of putting out the fire and tending to the victims’ immediate needs, but they indeed did go much further. They also recovered the bodies of the animals that perished in the fire, and saw to it they were buried. Then they made attempts to find rooming for the group. Sadly, no motel was ready to take in the eight surviving dogs. What was to be done? Colleton Fire Rescue personnel found a solution. They threw open the doors at the firehouse, and allowed everyone to stay there until friends in Florida could come and fetch all.
Colleton’s Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy modestly shrugged off the kudos. “We are in the service business. We do that stuff all the time.” They may “do that stuff all the time,” but McRoy and his crew certainly get a hat-tip from us.