RINCON — Firefighters are confronted with considerably more than burning buildings and vehicles. They undergo constant training in order to develop the necessary skills to handle a wide variety of emergency situations.
The Rincon Fire Department consists of 12 paid personnel. The chief and assistant chief spots are volunteer.
Chief Corey Rahn has been with the department for 33 years, with almost 25 years as in charge. The department, which covers about 90 square miles, has three open positions.
The department’s territory stretches south to the I-95 border to the Savannah River. It covers the Ebenezer Creek area where it comes in from the Savannah River and follows the creek down to Hwy 21. The area extends all the way down until it crosses McCall Road onto Little McCall Road, and then up to Blue Jay Road and to Hodgeville Road, then to Goshen Road and up to the first set of railroad tracks out to the county line.
Rincon’s Fire Department is made up of four stations — two manned and two volunteer. It features 40 total people.
Rahn says that, “About 75 percent of our business is medical calls. We assist Effingham County EMS a lot with medical calls from stumped toes to stomach aches to heart attacks and strokes.”
Rahn also said that his department responds to all auto accidents with injuries, fuel spills, structure fires and commercial warehouse fires. He said it also undertakes search-and-rescue missions for missing children and elderly citizens, and it assists local law enforcement agencies with any of their searches.
Rahn said the department averages about three boating calls each year. He recalled one incident in the past couple of years where someone had an accident near the Savannah River. As they stood beside the road, a car came up fast and, fearful of being hit, they jumped over the side, not knowing their fall would be 100 feet to the river.
Luckily, the driver survived and made it to land but rescuers had to cut a pathway down to the water in order to bring them safely out.
When called to automobile wrecks, people often wonder why a fire truck is on the scene when there is no fire visible. Rahn said that is standard procedure because those trucks also carry trained medical personnel who are often the first responders to arrive on the scene.
Station No. 1 is at 109 W. 17th Street. Station No. 2 is in the 300 block of Ebenezer Road. Station No. 3 is in the 200 block of Commercial Park at Goshen and Hwy. 21. Station No. 4 is in the 500 block of Blue Jay Road.
Rincon firefighters are often called to assist neighboring departments. Several years ago, they helped out when the Savannah Sugar Refinery caught fire. Their ladder truck went to West Side Savannah to cover the Pooler area and since all available units from Chatham were involved with the fire, their ladder truck was the only one in service to that area. Rincon units also helped in hauling water to the scene.
Recently, updates have been made to a rescue truck and have put two more rescue trucks into service. That gives each fire station its own rescue truck. These are smaller vehicles that can get into backyards and tighter areas and carry a small water tank to fight brush fires. They also contain ladders and a jaws of life.