• 64°

Editorial: 200 years of firefighters

The celebration of Salisbury Fire Department’s 200 years is about more than fire trucks and fire stations. It’s about men in generation after generation — and women, more recently — stepping up to protect the community.

The job involves great risk. More important, it takes personal discipline.

They say if you want to fight fires and save lives every day, you shouldn’t aim for a career in firefighting. There’s a lot of work to do between fires that is less glamorous. Medical calls. False alarms. Training exercises. Equipment maintenance.

Days or even weeks can pass without having to actually battle a blaze.

When flames do flare up, though, firefighters have a crucial job to carry out. Every bit of training, experience and equipment may be mission critical to saving someone’s life or preventing widespread destruction. Courage is a prerequisite, along with a sharp mind and physical strength.

Firefighting has progressed from bucket brigades to horse-drawn wagons to fire trucks loaded with the latest technology. The type of flames firefighters encounter have changed, too. Wood, paper and cloth were most of what burned in the early days. Many of the materials found in buildings today put off toxic fumes and can even be explosive. Breathing equipment is often a necessity.

And sometimes something goes wrong.

It’s tragic when anyone dies in a fire, but it’s especially cruel for firefighters. When former Fire Chief Sam Brady was interviewed as he approached retirement in 2004, he talked about an incident from his third year as a firefighter, 1971 — when fellow firefighter Joe Jenkins attempted a solo rescue in a burning building, became disoriented and walked into a wall of fire. Jenkins is one of four Salisbury firefighters to die on duty. The others are Capt. John Cross in 1961 and Vic Isler and Justin Monroe in the Salisbury Millwork Fire in 2008 — still so painful to remember.

The community can never sufficiently thank all the people who have put their lives on the line as firefighters. What we can do is make sure they are adequately paid, trained, equipped — and respected.

Comments

Coronavirus

Three new COVID-19 deaths, positives remain below triple digits

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper announces end to curfew, changes to restrictions affecting bars, high school sports

Crime

Blotter: Two charged after call about package

Crime

Salisbury Police investigating two shootings

Crime

Chase involving Kernersville man ends in woods behind Carson High School

News Main

North Rowan girls end season with playoff loss to Murphy

Education

Rowan-Salisbury EC department plunges in place after raising $1,300 for Special Olympics

Nation/World

Tiger Woods injured in car crash, has surgery on legs

Local

Local stakeholders set goals, direction to tackle city’s housing issues

Education

RSS board talks future of Henderson Independent School

Coronavirus

One new COVID-19 death, 23 new positives reported Tuesday

Local

Concord to create fallen officer memorial featuring Rowan native Shuping

Crime

20-year-old man faces rape charges

Crime

Blotter: Man charged after shooting gun during argument

Local

UPDATE: Missing Salisbury man found

Education

RSS board votes to use upset bid process on Faith property

Local

Committee to soon accept artist applications for ‘Paint the Pavement’ project

BREAKING NEWS

RSS board votes to send elementary students to in-person classes four days per week

Coronavirus

County to administer nearly 1,700 vaccines this week

News

Political Notebook: Rep. Howard named ‘hospitality champion’ by North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association

Crime

Blotter: Gunshot fired into home on North Oakhurst Drive

Local

Teenager reported missing in Salisbury

Local

‘Everybody needs an Aunt Libby:’ Family celebrates 100th birthday of Rockwell doctor Elizabeth Lombard

Ask Us

Ask Us: Why is Rowan EMS no longer transporting some patients outside of county?