Have you ever heard that old expression, “It’s all in a day’s work?”
Well that’s certainly true for SCDNR Officers, who are on call pretty much 24-7 and never know what a day in the field might bring. Our state’s “game wardens” are out there every day, enforcing South Carolina’s hunting and fishing regulations and patrolling on the water, but they are also frequently called upon to assist other Law Enforcement agencies and first-responders or members of the public in emergency situations.
That’s exactly what happened to veteran Berkeley County SCDNR Officer Sgt. Thomas Spann last week – except in this case, Sgt. Spann wasn’t just assisting the first responders, he WAS the first responder!
Sgt. Spann was actually off-duty and in his personal vehicle when he came up on a car accident on Muddville Road near the community of Pineville on July 9th. Sgt. Spann always keeps his Sheriff's Department radio in the vehicle with him, even when off-duty. Taking immediate control of the accident scene, he quickly radioed the Sheriff's Department dispatcher for backup and got out to see if he could help.
The vehicle involved in the accident had hit a tree and Sgt. Spann immediatey realized that it had also caught on fire. With the blaze growing, the passengers and the driver were trapped in the car, and none of the doors would open. Using a tire iron provided by a bystander, Sgt. Spann smashed out the windows on the blazing vehicle and helped the passengers – a mother and three small children, two of them strapped in car seats – get safely out. Within minutes of getting the last child out, the car was fully engulfed in flames.
By that time, an ambulance dispatched to the scene had arrived and EMS was able to take over the care of the passengers. Sgt. Spann’s preparedness and decisive actions that day may very well have saved the lives of the individuals in that car, but for him and the other dedicated and highly-skilled men and women who wear the green uniform in the Palmetto State, it was just another day on the best job they’ll ever have.
Congratulations on a job extremely well-done, for Sgt. Thomas Spann!