On Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023, as flames engulfed a salvage yard on IL-111 near Madison, Ill., and with oppressive heat and humidity on the rise, Madison County Transit (MCT) was called upon to provide cooling buses for first responders battling the blaze.
Around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night, Madison County Emergency Management Agency Director Fred Patterson reached out to MCT about providing air-conditioned cooling buses near the site, to provide critical relief for the personnel from more than twenty area fire departments who were working to extinguish the fire.
The location of the fire was a 10-acre salvage yard east of IL-111, between the Alton & Southern Railroad tracks and the Cahokia Canal.
On behalf of MCT, Lead Road Supervisor Ed Sims, Director of Operations Pam Ruyle, and Fixed-Route Operations Manager Delanders Crochrell worked diligently to find drivers and deploy buses to the site as quickly as possible.
“I want to commend Ed Sims, Pam Ruyle, and Delanders Crochrell for their quick action and the extra time they spent coordinating these efforts,” said MCT Managing Director SJ Morrison. “Throughout the many hours that a bus was present at the scene, we also had four bus drivers who I want to acknowledge for staying late and working extra hours. Those drivers were: David Finegar, Marlas Camp, Amy Powell, and Wayman Ingram. We appreciate your hard work and for representing MCT so well during this time of need.”
More than 180 first responders, including police and fire fighters, were on the scene and took shifts in the air-conditioned buses to escape the extreme heat.
“Madison County Transit provided buses on-scene which were staged as essential cooling stations for our first responders,” said Patterson. “This help was instrumental in keeping them from being overheated. Our partnership with MCT in serving our community is second to none.”
“MCT has the utmost respect for the brave men and women in fire and police departments who are willing to run toward an emergency in order to protect our communities and get the situation under control,” said Morrison. “We’re pleased that we could play a small role to keep them safe and comfortable throughout this incident.”
The emergency relief effort was led by the Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) under the direction of Director Fred Patterson. EMA coordinated the emergency response and provided water and other support to the on-site first responders.
“Once again, the MCT team was impressed by Madison County Emergency Management,” said Morrison. “Their quick and efficient coordination efforts were critical in this emergency situation. Our thanks to Fred Patterson for his ongoing leadership and commitment to the safety of Madison County communities.”