CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Conway Fire Battalion Chief Le Hendrick was at the Conway Fire station on Third Avenue, flipping through files and looking for paperwork he needed, when he found something that caught his eye.
"They were down in the bottom, and they were covered up. So when I pulled them out I was like, oh wow!" Chief Hendrick exclaimed.
One of those books is an old journal that once belonged to Conway Fire Chief Perry Quattelebaum. He served between 1911 and 1923.
"You skip a few pages, and it goes into the stories as far back as 1917," described Hendrick.
He felt he had just found an important piece of the department's history. "This is probably the only recorded history we have prior to the 50's. Very interesting information."
He also found a Conway Fire Department payroll record from the 50's. "His total pay was $34 a week in 1951," Hendrick added.
Hendrick also found a record of the first meetings for the Horry County Rescue Squad. That volunteer program that actually originated with the Conway Fire Department in 1957. Hendrick said a lot of the guys at the station were fascinated by some of the stuff they read.
"They kept record by hand. in small books," added Hendrick. It's a big reminder to them times have changed since the department first opened in 1898. One of the journal entries describes how the firefighter got the job done.
"About a dozen firefighters went out with two lines and a bunch of buckets," read Hendrick.
The discovery was extra special for Hendrick. He showed the journals to his son.
"He's very interested in history. I said this is actually relates to your family. It was passed along to S.C. Hendrick which is my distant cousin," he explained.
There could be more where the three books come from, so Hendrick plans to dig for more historical items inside the storage room. He says he will keep everything he finds stored together inside of the new Conway Public Safety Building when it opens.
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