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Midway Brings Body Armor to Firefighters

Pawleys Island, S.C. (WPDE) — Firefighters have equipment designed to handle some of the most extreme conditions.

Bullets aren't on the list.

But now, first responders from Midway Fire Rescue have protection on scenes where someone is armed with a gun: bulletproof vests.

"You can't guarantee any scene is safe any more," Chief Doug Eggiman explained.

Eggiman said the department bought 35 vests, enough to cover each position on every vehicle it operates. He said the vests cost $250 each, and were paid for by a county improvement fund.

His crews used them for the first time Thursday afternoon at a shooting in Pawleys Island.

Firefighters ABC15 spoke to had stories of times where someone was armed, or when the person left the scene and came back after they arrived.

"This person's shot," firefighter Daniel Roy recalled. "We got a bystander... come up and ask, 'Is he alright? Is he going to live?' The next thing you know, he pulls out a gun, points at [the victim], fires two rounds, walks off, and that's the last we saw of that guy."

Spokesmen for Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue and Horry County Fire Rescue both said their crews did not have bulletproof vests.

North Myrtle Beach firefighters have bulletproof vests because they are also police officers, according to city spokesman Pat Dowling.

Officials at other departments did not immediately return our messages Thursday night.

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