Horry County firefighters reflect on emotional week of rescues during historic flooding

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW)- It’s been a week of emotional rescues and long shifts for first responders across South Carolina.

Firefighters say while it has been tough, they rely on their strength to keep going.

“It’s draining. I mean all of these guys National Guard, first responders, firefighters staying away from home, working all the long hours. It’s draining. It’s hard to look at homes destroyed from the flooding from folks that don’t have any flood insurance and deal with their emotions,” HCFR Captain Michael Medeiros said.

Performing the hundreds of rescues has been tough to do especially for those firefighters concerned about their own homes and family members.

“We actually have a few firefighters in our department that have quite extensive damage to their home as well. It’s hard to stay at work and do that and also help others when you know your home is also been ransacked by water and the storm,” Medeiros said.

Today, Big Boy Q in Carolina Forest offered all first responders, utility workers and law enforcement officers in Horry County a free meal. The owners say it was their of showing appreciation.

“I don’t know what it means to them but to us it means a lot for them to come in and get something to eat. To me it’s just a BBQ sandwich but to them you know this is our way of saying thanks,” Clay Hill said.

Volunteers with the Salvation Army’s Disaster Unit are also stationed at the Lee’s Landing Fire Station in Conway to make sure the firefighters are fed.

“These guys do put in a lot of hours and it is important that they’re taken care of. It is important that they’re fed and they’re fed good meals and they’re fed meals that will help them put in those hours,” Robert Whitaker said.

It’s that kind of support that gives firefighters not only physical strength but mental strength as well.

“We have some really like I said strong emotional folks that can keep it aside while they take care of business and then find their outlets afterwards,” Medeiros said,

Right now firefighters at his station can only access Lee’s Landing by boat so crews ask people to call 911 for assistance.

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