Fannin Fire Department recognized by Copperhill/McCaysville First Baptist

Fannin County EMA/EMS, Religion

[Featured image: First Baptist Church of Copperhill/McCaysville presented a memento of appreciation to Fire Chief Larry Thomas, far right, and the Fannin County Fire Department during the church’s Sunday morning service May 6. Seen here with Thomas are, from left, Ryan Norton, FBC minister of worship, and Rev. Matthew McDaniel, FBC pastor.]

McCAYSVILLE, Ga. – The Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) was recognized by First Baptist Church of Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, Georgia, for its efforts and dedication to the community in a special service and dinner Sunday, May 6.

Pastor Matthew McDaniel presented Fire Chief Larry Thomas with a crystal memento of appreciation, honoring the fire department and first responders during the church’s Sunday morning services this past weekend.

First Baptist Church of Copperhill/McCaysville presented this crystal memento to the Fannin County Fire Department Sunday, May 6.

The memento, inscribed with the words “Thank you for your Great Efforts and Dedication to Saving lives and Property,” was given to the department as part of a recognition for all the firefighters and emergency personnel who responded to a fire at the church Tuesday, Jan. 2.

The fire, which resulted from boxes being stacked against a wall heater that was thought to have been inoperable in the church’s balcony, saw a quick response from the fire department that afternoon as crews were able to extinguish the blaze with no injuries before it spread to other areas of the church.

Recalling the day’s events, Chief Thomas stated the fire occurred between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., the busiest time of day on the narrow streets of the twin cities.

“I always say a prayer on the way to a call. That day, it was like the Lord just parted the waters as we approached the church,” Thomas said of the ease with which crews were able to reach the fire through rush hour traffic.

As a result of the blaze, First Baptist was forced to temporarily relocate its Sunday morning services for eight weeks to Akins Funeral Home of Copperhill, but returned to its sanctuary on Toccoa Avenue in McCaysville Sunday, March 4.

“It was an honor to be able to recognize (FCFD) and show our appreciation not only for what they’ve done for us, but also for what they do for our community all the time on behalf of everybody, on behalf of the whole community,” Rev. McDaniel stated. “They make a lot of sacrifices, and most of the time, we don’t take into account all that they do for us. And we just appreciate it so much.”

Pastor Matthew McDaniel, of First Baptist Church of Copperhill/McCaysville, presents Fannin County Fire Chief Larry Thomas, left, with a memento of appreciation Sunday, May 6.

Choking back a couple of tears back in his office Wednesday morning, Chief Thomas stated of the community in which he and his department serves, “They do care. They are very interested in what we do. It was an honor to stand up there (Sunday) and accept this recognition. The people of the county really care for us.”

Also Wednesday morning, several members of FCFD and Fannin County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) gathered at Fire Station 1 for a small ceremony as the three recently added fire engines and two new ambulances were on full display outside the downtown station on West Main Street.

The five emergency vehicles represented some of the additions to the county’s emergency fleet purchased within the last year. In addition, according to Thomas, two used frontline pumper engines have also been added to the fleet. The newer engines, purchased for $240,749 on a six-year payment plan, provides the county with a Class A pumper at every station, Thomas added.

Five newly acquired emergency vehicles were on display Wednesday, May 9, outside of Fire Station 1 on West Main Street. Seen here are, from left, front: Cory Collogan, training chief; Robert Graham, EMA director; Larry Joe Sosebee, county commissioner; Larry Thomas, fire chief; Rob Ross, deputy fire chief; Darrell Payne, EMA deputy director; Brad Beaver, firefighter; Channing Johnstone, firefighter; back: Joey Cox, EMS; Eddie Hopkins, paramedic; Patrick Cooke, E-911 deputy director; and John Reel, E-911.

The ambulances, which were purchased for approximately $124,000 each from the emergency services budget, brings the total ambulance fleet for the county to seven, according to EMA Director Robert Graham.

“We’ve had every one of the new fire engines out on a fire already,” Thomas said Wednesday. “The department is stepping forward in a giant leap right now.”


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Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

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