West Florence FD battles fire amid water issue from out-of-service hydrants; multiple crews assist

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 8:41 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2022 at 6:57 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Multiple fire departments helped West Florence Fire Department to fight a house fire in Florence on Thursday morning amid a water supply issue caused by out-of-service hydrants.

West Florence Fire Department arrived at the fire at 4:35 a.m.

The residents had an early warning from smoke alarms but were also saved by the heroic actions of one of their neighbors.

Neighbor Randy Bailey went into the home on his hands and knees and grabbed the homeowner’s pants and was able to drag him out.

“I couldn’t stand up and walk in, I had to crawl in. I felt his pants and I just grabbed him by the arm,” Bailey explained.

The WFFD said the homeowner was not alert and would have succumbed to excessive smoke inhalation if it hadn’t been for Bailey’s quick thinking.

But while Bailey was helping to save the people inside the home, firefighters worked to battle the flames from the outside, but there a key tool wasn’t working nearby: the fire hydrants.

“When we arrived on scene, unfortunately the hydrants adjacent to the home were out of service at the time, but crews responded quickly,” said Assistant Chief Dwight Mobley.

Crews from Howe Springs Fire Rescue, Sardis-Timmonsville Fire Department, City of Florence Fire Department, Darlington County Fire Department and Florence County EMS jumped into action and provided tankers to help with the water situation.

The WFFD there was a total of 14 apparatus and 40 firefighters on the scene who helped pump over 30,000 gallons of water.

WMBF News learned from neighbors that one of the fire hydrants was hit back in March and several calls have been made to get it replaced, but so far, that hasn’t happened. WMBF also reached out to the city of Florence several times to get answers on the fire hydrants, but haven’t gotten a response back.

And while the home was heavily damaged by the flames, many are happy the family inside the home made it out safely.

“It could’ve been a lot worse than it was, and we just thank God it turned out like it did and everybody got saved, even the two animals,” said Bailey.

Mobley said the fire most likely started in the garage, but the Florence County Sheriff’s Office will investigate the cause.