In today’s Social Media saturated world, we see fewer and fewer stories that represent genuine kindness in people. This includes the good folks in the fire and rescue business, so Howell Rescue Systems would like to share a story of goodness, bravery, and heroism.
Most of you have heard about the tornados that ripped through counties in Kentucky and Tennessee in December. These tornados spread damage along a 165-mile path and caused many fatalities. Countless families were affected by the storms, creating numerous stories of people coming together for the betterment of the community; we want to focus on one story in particular. This story begins with Philip King, Mayor of Bardwell City, Kentucky, and coincidentally, their Assistant Fire Chief.
Fire Chief David Hutchinson and Assistant Chief King, have put members in place in his community to assist those hard-to-reach rural areas. This is something that would prove to be a life-saving program in the wake of the tornado. On the night of December 10th, 2021 the EF4 tornado would end up ripping through a candle factory known to the locals as the Mayfield Consumer Products building. There was a total collapse in the building, trapping multiple factory workers. The Mayfield Fire Department would have been first on the scene, but their fire department suffered too much damage even to get their apparatus out. Assistant Chief King and his crew from Bardwell Fire Department responded to the call and were one of the first on scene at the candle factory that night. They arrived with 7 firefighters and a cache of tools, including a complete set of Genesis Eforce SL3 Tools. As soon as they arrived on the scene, King instructed his men to set up two entry points into the building along with a triage area outside. As the firefighters began hauling away debris from the entry points and making a path toward the interior of the building, it was clear that advanced extrication was needed. King’s son, Braxten, also on the team that night, made a call over the radio to bring in every tool his firefighter’s guys could carry. Spreaders, Rams, Combitools, Cribbing, Sawzalls, etc. Braxten and the other firefighters continued to tunnel into the building to locate trapped victims. They used the Eforce tools to lift heavy beams and crib them in place. “We were lifting things with the Eforce tools that should not have been possible,” stated Assistant Chief King. “These firefighters pushed their tools to the limit that night in order to save as many lives as possible.” King concluded, “Thank you for making a tool we don’t have to worry about while we are focused on saving lives.”
Aside from the true heroism displayed by this team of firefighters that night, another silver lining shines through. John Pace and his team at P&L Rescue Services donated their time and energy into servicing the rescue tools used by Chief King and his team to keep them running in top shape. The entire cost of servicing the tools was covered by P&L Rescue Services, a dealer for Howell Rescue Systems. This service allowed them to continue providing much-needed support to the surrounding communities.
One of the communities in dire need of assistance was Cayce KY, in Fulton County. The Cayce Fire Department is a volunteer fire department encompassing wholesome, down-to-earth people. Most of the members are farmers, factory workers, blue-collar workers. The tornado destroyed the Cayce Fire Department. The storm left them with no equipment to assist their community after the tornado. Chief King has worked with his own fire department and other companies like P&L Rescue Services, Howell Rescue Systems, Genesis Rescue Systems, and more to provide Cayce Fire Department with the tools and apparatus necessary to help their community.
In addition, Chief King personally visited the KYMEA (Kentucky Municipal Energy Association) to find out how he could arrange for some funds for their community. He ended up receiving a check for $2,500 that was used to purchase Dollar General gift cards. These gift cards were given to a church in Cayce to pass out and help start the rebuilding process. “We do our best to take care of people… we don’t have to know them,” said Mayor King. “Since that time, Cayce Fire Department has received a pumper and tanker from Bardwell and Rochester FD, a complete set of tools from P&L Rescue and Howell Rescue Systems, and more small tools and equipment than they can count!”
Howell Rescue Systems would like to thank everyone involved, all of the brave men and women across the region, for their hard work and dedication to their communities in the wake of this horrible disaster. Lives were lost, something not to be taken lightly, but countless lives were saved due to everyday heroes that we call firefighters.