Lexington firefighter dies after helping with car crash

Lexington County firefighter Paul Quattlebaum died while responding to a call Friday Oct. 4.
Lexington County firefighter Paul Quattlebaum died while responding to a call Friday Oct. 4. Lexington County

A Lexington County firefighter died responding to a call Friday, according to the county.

Paul Quattlebaum, a firefighter for more than 22 years, was struck by a vehicle Friday afternoon on Fairview Road when his unit was en route to a medical call, a statement from Lexington County said.

About 3:30, Quattlebaum’s unit was dispatched for the call. While heading to the location of the medical call, Quattlebaum and his partner encountered a vehicle collision near the 5200 block of Fairview Road. They stopped to check on the people involved in the wreck. While checking on the people, a semi-truck struck Quattlebaum, the county said.

Emergency crews gave him medical treatment at the scene until paramedics showed up and took him to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the incident that killed the firefighter.

Quattlebaum was most recently based at Lexington Fire Services’ Station 27, which serves residents in the Samaria area, the counties statement said. He started as a volunteer firefighter in 1997 before being hired full-time in 2000.

In November 2002, Quattlebaum was promoted to the position of fire engineer. From October 2017 to March 2018, he also served as a ride-up captain, a position that serves as captain when others are off duty.

Quattlebaum was a lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps, serving as a field-radio operator from 1992 to 1994, according to the county. He was honorably discharged after an injury.

“Quattlebaum faithfully served the residents and visitors of Lexington County throughout his career,” the county said. “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the County of Lexington are with his family.”

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that it is grieving with the fire department.

“We salute him for his service to Lexington County and our nation as a member of the (United States Marine Corps),” the sheriff’s department said.

Columbia Fire Department put out a statement saying it is praying for “the men & women of (the Lexington County fire department) and the friends and loved ones of the fallen firefighter during this truly difficult time.”

Chris Jackson, a former firefighter, said Quattlebaum “was the living definition of selfless and kind.”

“You weren’t just one a hell of a firefighter, you were also one hell of a man, and a patriot that served our country while in the USMC,” Jackson said.

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.