Firefighter responds to his own home following Hurricane Matthew


Firefighter John Wagers works for both Dorchester County and Old Fort Fire Departments. He thought he was prepared for any type of call during Hurricane Matthew, until he heard his address over the radio.

He says, “We deal with really difficult situations sometimes, and this was probably one of the most difficult situations I’ve ever had to deal with.”

His own home, on fire.

Wagers says, “We didn’t have power, and so my mother had lit some candles to light the house.”

But the candles were left unattended and the cat knocked one over into the curtains in the kitchen.

Wagers says, “We got in the truck and we came, and we were able to keep it confined to the kitchen then. Then we sent multiple crews in to check for hot spots and extensions and everything like that.”

But one small ember caught fire six hours later and before the fire department arrived a second time, the house was lost.

Wagers says, “It was a gut wrenching feeling and it hit me, and I kind of stopped for a minute and I was like, ‘I’ve got to do this’ and I kind of collected myself and went and did the job until someone was able to relieve me. I kind of sat back after that point.”

He says all people and animals from the home are safe, but some sentimental items were lost. He says many people from the community are pitching in.

Wagers says, “It’s been overwhelming and we do appreciate everything and it’s great that we have those people out there.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family here.

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