Hilda residents grateful for local fire department

Dear Editor,
I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the Hilda Volunteer Fire Department for the quick response to the fire at my house on Feb. 14 at 1 a.m.
The response was less than four minutes (unheard of from a paid Fire Dept., much less a Volunteer Dept.).
The Hilda residents should be proud of a fire department with the knowledge, professionalism, quick response and the ISO rating.
The personnel had been roaming the streets of Hilda for three days, moving limbs and debris from the roadways and staying at the fire department because of the conditions of the roads during the ice storm. They had to be tired but that was all forgotten when the call came out.
They protected my furniture, clothes and pictures when accessing the ceiling to knock down the hot spots (unbelievable). They accessed the attic of the main part of the house to maintain control of the fire. My son initially attacked the fire with a ½" water hose and it was stated by the Fire Dept., "Your son saved your house". Thank you Nicholas. Would anyone think this, a ½" water hose?
Five minutes is a very short time in a fire. That is approximately how long we had to live if our granddaughter and the smoke detector had not alerted us. We would not have gotten out safe.
Due to the power outage, the Hilda water tower was down to a minimum amount of water (was saving for drinking water for our citizens) and the Fire Dept. already had other departments on stand-by.
I also want to thank the Friendship, Blackville and Barnwell District One fire departments for responding. Within fifteen minutes there was approximately 12,000 gallons of water on site. I was told that approximately 5,800 gallons were used to extinguish the fire.
I wish I knew all the names of the firemen that responded because I would like to personally thank you for a job well done. We lost a lot, but more was saved than lost.
I know the fire departments did what they are trained to do, but I also know the Lord was with each and every one that morning.
I am also appreciative for the follow-up by the Hilda and Friendship firemen, checking with me for days afterward to see if I needed help in doing things around the house.
Last but not least, thank you to the 911 dispatcher for sending out the tones so quickly.
In closing, I would like to thank all firemen in the county for the job they do in protecting personnel and property and for the cleanup during the ice storm. Thanks also to the Charleston firefighters that were off-duty on the 14th that responded to our residence.
Thank you with respect,
Stephen, Vickie, Nicholas, Shalynne and Noah Smith; and Chris, Shawna, and
Mackenzie McClary