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TO EXPRESS THE GRATITUDE OF THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA TO THE GRANITEVILLE, VAUCLUSE, AND WARRENVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND FIRE CHIEF PHIL NAPIER FOR THEIR HANDLING OF THE GRANITEVILLE TRAIN ACCIDENT AND TO HONOR THEIR HEROIC ACTIONS DURING THE ACCIDENT AND IN THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED.
Whereas, the GVW Fire Department was founded in 1972 and Chief Phil Napier is a thirty-three year veteran of the GVW Fire Department, serving twenty-eight of those years as its fire chief; and
Whereas, in the early hours of January 6, 2005, this dedicated group of all-volunteer fire fighters faced one of its greatest challenges when a train accident and derailment occurred in the historical textile community of Graniteville, South Carolina; and
Whereas, no one could have anticipated the deadly destruction of the resulting chlorine leak that occurred that morning after train cars derailed when a switch that would have transferred one train to the main line was left open, and one car was damaged to the extent that it spilled seventy tons out of the ninety tons of deadly chlorine gas; and
Whereas, sadly nine lives were lost that day and over two hundred of Graniteville's citizens were treated at hospitals for injuries, many of them with serious breathing problems and many of whom had to be decontaminated before they could be seen by medical staff; and
Whereas, the loss of life and the number of injuries sustained could have been much greater were it not for the promptness of the response from the GVW Fire Department, under the able leadership of Chief Napier, who risked their lives to assist, rescue, and come to the quick aid of the citizens of Graniteville; and
Whereas, Chief Napier led and worked to motivate the GVW Fire Department and worked at the command center with the other emergency personnel from SRS, Augusta, Aiken, North Augusta, and other volunteer and full-time fire departments; and
Whereas, the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives are pleased to pause to recognize the substantial contribution of this all-volunteer group of dedicated men and women who worked tirelessly to assist the citizens of the Graniteville community and lead the cleanup effort in the aftermath of the accident. Even after having lost most of their own equipment and their headquarters, these courageous men and women, under the leadership of Chief Phil Napier, demonstrated once again their commitment and dedication to the service of mankind. They certainly serve as a prime example of just what makes America great. Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:
That the members of the House of Representatives of the State of South Carolina, by this resolution, express their gratitude to the Graniteville, Vaucluse, and Warrenville Fire Department and Fire Chief Phil Napier for their handling of the Graniteville train accident and to honor their heroic actions during the accident and in the days that followed.
Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to
Chief Phil Napier on behalf of the GVW Fire Department.
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