The metropolitan spirit had some very interesting reading about what our fire chief did during the Sept 11th attacks.
[ 10-16-2001: Message edited by: sidney251 ]
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10-12-2001, 08:18 AM #1
10-16-2001, 06:55 PM #2
I could not find the article mentioned in the above post so I typed it word for word as I received it from another member of the Department.
Here it is...
When former Augusta Fire Chief Ronnie Few told the Metropolitan Spirit two years ago, “I’d be a hero in another city,” many Augustans laughed. After all, this is the man accused of leaving Augusta with a $23,000 bill for the 2000 Southeastern Fire Chiefs Conference, while he headed up to his new job as fire chief of the District of Columbia. This is the man accused by a Richmond County grand jury of showing “favoritism” when determining pay raises within the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. This is the man whose former department had its records seized by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation only a year ago. But, on Dept. 11, Few proved his critics wrong. At least for one day. As the west side of the Pentagon was in ruins following a terrorist attack, and news began to spread of a fourth hijacked plane still in the air, Few became a hero to hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C. “We didn’t know exactly where that fourth plane was, so I had to start putting strike teams in place, ready for the next incident in our city,” said Few, during a phone interview. “We knew that plane was headed back to Washington, D.C., so we planned for all the target hazard laces that could be under fire.” It was difficult to concentrate on potential targets in Washington, D.C., knowing that a disaster was occurring only a few miles away at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Few said. “As soon as we heard about the incident at the Pentagon, I can assure you, that it was one of those times where a fire chief has to actually show some control and not try to run out to that incident and help,” Few said. “Instead, I sent at least 13 engine companies and six ladder trucks over to Arlington, plus two fire-fighting deputy chiefs and a safety officer. But I had to look at my resources here and make sure everything in Washington was all right.” Fortunately for Few, the District of Columbia’s fire department was already planning for a potential public disruption relating to the International Monetary Fund/World Bank conference which was headed into town on Sept. 28. “On that particular day, we had put a lot of planning in place for the IMF/World Bank conference that was coming up in our city. So, what I did was immediately take part of the plan that I already implemented and put it into play,” Few said. “And it worked to perfection that day. Within 15 minutes every part of our city was covered and taken to a safe level and I felt really good about that. “It was probably my proudest moment since I’ve been fire chief in D.C.” Hours later, when it appeared that Washington was safe from any future threat and the federal buildings in the area appeared secure, Few said he finally had an opportunity to drive out to the Pentagon. Few said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he arrived on the scene. “It’s so much different seeing it in person than on TV, “ Few said. “I was just in disbelief that terrorists could get to that target. Right then, I knew this was a whole new day in the U.S.” After reviewing the condition of the Pentagon’s west side, Few immediately knew that any victims who were still inside the burning building were lost. “So, many people were still trapped in there,” Few said. “But I knew they wouldn’t be able to stand the heat from that plane and the plane’s fuel. It was very sad.” But Few said he found strength in the fact that many of his firefighters were quickly on the scene to help contain the fire at the Pentagon. “I was real proud when I got close to the scene because the fire chief from Arlington told me I had some very aggressive firefighters that were helping lead the rescue,” Few said. “And when I got a chance to go over and see them, I saw our firefighters from D.C. on the front line. I had nearly 100 firefighters over there. And we played a big part in the extinguishment of that particular fire.” What Few was not prepared for were the deaths of a number of his fellow New York City firefighters, who were caught in the north tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed. “There was a guy that I knew up there that did lose his life, and later I heard that his son lost his life also,” Few said. “I’ve got to tell you, I’ve had fire chiefs calling me all around the country, some of them on the phone in tears, because we’ve lost some friends. “Those people that we lost in New York were friends of ours that we’ve met at conferences, so we all know each other. And it’s hard. Because when you hear a whole command staff and a whole battalion were just about wiped out, it devastated all of us. None of us have gotten over that.” To try and ease the pain of some of his firefighters in Washington, Few went around to every station to praise them for the job that they did on Sept. 11. “I’ve been around telling them, ‘Hey, we’ve got to keep our chins up. You’ve done a good job. But we are here to protect our citizens and we are going to do the very best job that we can do,’” Few said. However, many firefighters didn’t think it was enough to keep Washington, D.C., safe. They wanted to help out in New York City. “A number of them wanted to go to New York to help at the World Trade Center, but I told them we could not allow anybody to leave because we are still in a state where we don’t know what is next,” he said. “I know now that I’ve got to start gearing up for a biological and chemical warfare, to a level that we’ve never been before,” Few said. “All of us realize that terrorism is on our turf now. And we can’t let our guard down.” With all of the tragedies of Sept. 11, Few said it has given him some perspective on the past controversies here in Augusta. “I’ve got to tell you, nobody will ever tell the entire story about what happened down there, “ Few said. “Some people think that they had to kill the legacy that I came down there and I made a difference. But I’m just happy to be here in D.C., although I miss a lot of people in Augusta, Georgia. “A piece of my heart will always be in Augusta. I’ve never been anti-Augusta. No matter what happened down there, I still love Augusta, Georgia.”
10-17-2001, 09:07 AM #3
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
- Auburn Hills, MI
Thank you very much for taking the time to type this out!!!Be Safe!
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