Firefighters and other law enforcement personnel are specialized tools. They are not your run-of-the-mill pair of pliers. No, these specialized tools only do one job. And it is at times such as these that remind us how special they truly are. These specialized tools are warm with blood. They have families and friends, They don’t just sit around in the toolbox.
And then the call comes -- in this case a house fire in south Macon -- these flesh and blood tools, trained to carry out their specialized responsibilities jump into action. Instead of running away from danger, firefighters and deputies and police officers run toward the danger. In this case a structure that was fully involved in flame when they arrived. Five firefighters entered the structure. The floor near the door gave way and dropped them and flaming debris into the basement below. Lt. Randy Parker, a fire department veteran of more than 20 years, was pinned in, Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said, and did not survive.
Battalion Chief Stephen Stafford was airlifted to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta. Firefighters Adam Michie and Ferrell Cromer were transported to the burn center by ambulance. Two other firemen -- Matt Couey and Ben Bollinger -- were listed in stable condition at the Medical Center.
The entire community mourns when any of our protectors die in the course of trying to save people and property. We mourn with the understanding that even today, as they mourn, if the call comes, they will answer it without hesitation,