Burton, Colleton County firefighters recognized for heroism

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Photo above: Firefighters Michael Causey, left, and Connor Hutto were awarded the Medal of Valor recently by the Hampton County Fire District for their efforts in rescuing five people from a collapsed building that had been struck by lightning during an intense ”microburst” during a thunderstorm in Hampton County on June 20. The two men also are volunteer firefighters with the Burton Fire Department. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Burton firefighter Michael Causey was recently awarded the Medal of Valor by the Hampton Fire Department at a Hampton Town Council meeting for helping rescue five trapped occupants from a building collapse the evening of June 20.  

Just before 6:30 p.m. on June 20, during severe thunderstorms, the Hampton Fire Department was dispatched to a reported building collapse at the Badcock Furniture on Elms St. with people reported trapped inside. Michael Causey, a career firefighter with the Burton Fire District as well as a volunteer firefighter for his hometown of Hampton, heard the call while at home and immediately reported to the fire station.  

Firefighters arrived on scene and found that the roof of the building, along with a side wall, had collapsed. Upon being told five victims were trapped inside a rear bathroom with water rising around them, and with lightning and heavy rain falling, Causey and fellow firefighter Connor Hutto, a Colleton County firefighters who also volunteers in Hampton, forced their way through a front door, entered the weakened structure, and started a search. The firefighters were able to locate all five trapped occupants and lead them to safety, with one occupant having to be carried.  

Although Causey’s actions took place while operating with another fire department, Burton Fire Chief Harry Rountree felt it appropriate to recognize his achievement as well as Hutto’s.  

“Their actions embody all firefighters to include those here at Burton,” stated Rountree. “After working a 48-hour shift and risking their life at their career department, they go home and volunteer their off-duty time to protect their hometown. That is true selfless sacrifice and dedication to public safety which embodies all firefighters. We are very proud of all of them.”  

Burton Deputy Chief Tom Webb also recently received a Medal of Valor for responding off-duty to rescue two kayakers who overturned in local waterways, and Burton Lieutenant Ethan Webb was recognized for saving a life off-duty by administering CPR. “The men and woman of the fire service don’t simply punch a clock and stop caring at the end of the shift,” Rountree said. “When someone needs help, they act, it’s who they are.” 

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