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Reader’s Forum — 5-12-14

Thanks to firefighters
I want to express my sincere appreciation for the exemplary service that Lincolnton and volunteer fire departments and, most importantly, all of Lincolnton and Lincoln County firefighters do for our community and its residents.
I would like to specifically identify Units E1, E2, and L-1 for their distinguished service on the morning of March 25: E-1 Captain Brent Smith, Engineer David Ford, FF Brent McConnell; E-2 Cody Tench FF, Jason Kennedy FF, Kurt Boyles Engineer, William Swafford FF; L-1 Captain Brent Turner, Nicholas Stamey FF, John Dancoff FF, Joseph Fletcher Engineer.
The response time and action after the response for both Lincolnton fire and police departments are worthy of acknowledgement.
As for our Lincolnton and Lincoln County firefighters, there are not enough expressions of gratitude that could possibly address the passion I have for all you do to keep us safe. You literally put your life on the line for your fellow citizens. I understand that the fire we had in our house on March 25 was simply a small, contained fire in the bathroom. There were a number of development that saved our incident from becoming a much more significant event. The most important of which was the response time. Lincolnton Fire Department received the dispatch at 12:59 a.m. The first Truck, Engine 1, with Brent Smith, David Ford, and Brent McConnell, arrived at 1:02 a.m., in an amazing three minutes. The second truck, Ladder 1, with Brent Turner, Nicholas Alan Stamey, John Dancoff, and Joseph Fletcher arrived at 1:03 a.m. Then, at 01:04 a.m., five minutes from dispatch, the third truck arrived with Cody Tench, Jason Kennedy, Kurt Boyles, and Tyler Swafford. Although the fire was still contained in a bathroom, it had just burned through the sheet rock and the wall studs were starting to burn. A few fire fighters entered the house with water canisters. Shortly after, one emerged from the front door, stating “we are going to need the hose.” As we were watching smoke roll out the ridge vent and the charged hose being drug into the house I expected the worst. Another event that prevented the incident from becoming more significant was a monitored fire alarm system.
It was at that moment I looked around at the front yard and saw my family. All seven of us — Pam, Ian, Katie, Emily, Ed (father-in-law), Mary (mother-in-law) — safe in the front yard. The last hint of winter that lingers into the early spring season was a chill on our bare feet and skin that our lightweight pajamas covered. As I stood there watching the firemen do their work, I saw Ed Willis approaching us from his house across the street with coats. When he realized most of us were without shoes, he returned with shoes and a fresh pot of coffee and enough cups for everyone. I realized that we did not have our wallets, purse, credit cards, cash, cell phones or computers, and it did not matter. As I gazed around at my family I realized that everything of any value was safe, including our walk with Christ. I would be remiss if I did not express how much we valued our neighbor and friends. Ed and Kristen Willis immediately did what they could do to support us, John and Nelva Goodson offered to open their house and let us spend the night.
I have done a lot of contemplating since that chilly March morning. How often do we really consider our firefighters? I have always appreciated what the firefighters stood for, and appreciated every tax dollar that supported them. After our experience, I have only the utmost respect for Lincolnton Fire Department. Their professionalism, attention to duty and bearing is undeniable. We have lived in Lincolnton and Lincoln County for over 20 years, and for a long time it has felt like home. But after the morning of March 25, there will never be another home than Lincolnton.
Lastly, if you do not have a monitored fire/smoke system, consider getting one. In a fire situation, they do not call you first — they call 911. If you do not get it monitored, at least get smoke detectors and change the battery every year. Get a fire extinguisher on every level of your house and take it the fire department every year and have it checked. Regularly go over your fire protection plan with your family. If you do not know what to do, ask a firefighter to help you design one. Regularly review your fire protection plan, where your smoke detectors are located and where people are sleeping. If you renovate or create a new bedroom, make sure it is protected. Then go get certified in CPR!
Tim Shain

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