LAURINBURG — When flooding hit the region nduring Hurricane Florence, most people were worried about their own homes and businesses — relying on emergency personnel to help them. But for the personnel with the North Fire Station in Laurinburg, the shoe was on the ohter foot.
According to Laurinburg Fire Chief Randy Gibson, around 3 to 4 feet of water entered the station from the nearby creek during the Sept. 14 storm. While they had been prepared for water by putting sandbags in front of the doors, it wasn’t enough.
“The current was so swift that it pushed logs through the roll-up doors and forced their way into the building,” Gibson said. “We’d never seen anything like it.”
He added that he is still waiting to hear back from insurance for numbers of how much was lost and destroyed, but Gibson said they lost furniture and some electronics. The North Fire Station is also where many of the historical items are held, but many are on the wall and didn’t suffer any damage.
“In the midst of it all, when we realized that it wasn’t getting better and more rain was coming, we evacuated the critical records and moved to the substation behind the National Guard Armory,” Gibson said. “The building will need to have some renovations and we’re working on getting that squared away.”
During the hurricane, fire departments from across the United States made their way to Laurinburg to help in the aftermath — but not only were they helping the residents of Scotland County, but spending their down time helping do a preliminary cleanup at the fire station.
“It says a lot about the fire service and it speaks clearly to public safety and the dedication and pride that goes into everything — even during a hurricane,” Gibson said. “We all take pride in our equipment and we don’t like seeing it dirty, and they said that they couldn’t stand seeing it like it was.”
Once the water had receded, the floors were caked in mud and filled with debris that had made its way in — along with some leeches, according to Gibson.
Some of the renovations that need to be done include asbestos removal, which they are currently taking bids to get that project underway and done as quick as possible.
“It was a tremendous help having those guys helping us,” Gibson said. “We are extremely grateful for their help with the hurricane and helping us clean up.”
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]