The chorus of calls that is rising to a crescendo demanding that Chief Thomas resign in the wake of the tragic loss of 9 Charleston Firefighters, fills the pages of Charleston's Post and Courier newspaper and local airwaves.
Chief Thomas at the Super Store Fire PNC Photo: Tryone Walker
Are the calls for Chief Thomas to resign simply a knee jerk reaction to a recent NHISO draft report?
It's not just the honorable thing for Chief Thomas to do, it's the thing he can and must do. He has no other option.
His failure to command regardless if it's real or perceived, and the subsequent loss of faith in his ability to command, is not only a concern it's a potential fatal liability.
On the fire ground you can't second guess an order. That is why firemen have ranks, why we have chiefs and captains. Because orders need to be given and orders need to be followed without hesitation.
If Rusty Thomas continues as Chief and the next big fire sweeps through an apartment building, who will without hesitation follow his order to enter a fully involved structure to search for possible trapped occupants?
More importantly how many will second guess his order in the future to retreat, and evacuate a burning structure feeling he's being overly cautious?
Who among Charleston's finest will follow Chief Thomas without hesitation? Who among Charleston's citizens will follow Chief Thomas without hesitation?
The Mayor and who else?
It's easy to say I support Rusty Thomas because he seems like a nice, likable family man a career firefighter but the truth is his career is over because fire is not a "nice" business and orders must be followed without hesitation.
Otherwise the consequences are fatal.
The photos that follow are by John Pundt.
Chief Thomas again and again denied that booster lines were used to fight the Sofa Super Store fire. But in the photo below the fireman in the black turnout gear seems to be holding a red 1 inch booster line that is clearly in use.
Below only a trickel of water is flowing.
Below a 3 inch line awaits water.
There is nothing they can do without water.