EDITORIAL: Response to accident a show of teamwork

Published 12:30 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

What could have been a tragedy turned out to be another fine example of what it means to live in Crenshaw County.

An 18-wheeler caught fire while traveling down U.S. Highway 331 Thursday evening. The 1999 Kenworth truck exploded within seconds of the driver escaping the vehicle, said Harry Driggers, chief of the Brantley Fire Department.

What came next was the real story. Within minutes of the incident, county and Brantley officials swarmed the area, diverting traffic, pitching in for kitty litter to absorb the leaking fuel and even picking up a shovel to assist in the cleanup.

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The scene was a relative “who’s who” of Brantley. Firefighters, county employees and Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett spread kitty litter and dirt on the roadway. Also present were Brantley Fire Chief Harry Driggers and Crenshaw County Emergency Management Director Earl Thompson.

The quick action and willingness to help in any way possible was admirable and one of the key reasons the incident was contained and roadways reopened so quickly.

Thompson may become a staple at incidents like Thursdays. At Monday’s County Commission meeting, the relatively new EMA director told commissioners he would not wish for an emergency situation, but was anxious to take part in them because it was the best way to measure the county’s preparedness and determine its shortcomings.

Thompson also shared plans to be proactive in disaster preparedness by writing columns for The Luverne Journal about safety.

We look forward to hearing from you, Thompson. And, while none of us want to see another hurricane or exploding truck, we can take comfort in the fact that local officials will adeptly respond to them.