On this show, we discuss a major line-of-duty-death incident: the loss of the Charleston Nine.
It happened on the evening of June 18, 2007, at the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, South Carolina.
The initial fire was located in a loading dock, but extended into the showroom.
There was a 911 call from a trapped employee, who was found and rescued.
Then, about 40 minutes into the call, there was a flashover, and the roof collapsed.
The firefighters caught in the flashover were unable to escape and were trapped under the collapsing roof.
The firefighters killed were:
Captain William “Billy” Hutchinson, 48, 30 years of service; Captain Mike Benke, 49, 29 years of service; Captain Louis Mulkey, 34, 11.5 years of service; Engineer Mark Kelsey, 40, 12.5 years of service; Engineer Bradford “Brad” Baity, 37, 9 years of service; Asst. Engineer Michael French, 27, 1.5 years of service; Firefighter James “Earl” Drayton, 56, 32 years of service; Firefighter Brandon Thompson, 27, 4 years of service; Firefighter Melvin Champaign, 46, 2 years of service.
It was a horrific situation. And it was the first time Charleston firefighters had been killed on duty since 1965.
My guest today was there.
Dr. David Griffin is a battalion chief today, but he was the engineer on the first-due engine on June 18, 2007.
David holds a doctorate of education in organizational leadership and development. He runs On a Mission, LLC.
David’s article: Remembering the Charleston 9: Still Riding
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