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EPDs Barton recognized for quick actions at house fire
Elgin Police Department (EPD) Officer Doug Barton (center) stands with (from left) Ron and Gloria Bell, EPD Chief Harold Brown and Elgin Mayor Brad Hanley after he was awarded a certificate of merit for saving the Bells home in Windy Hills from fire loss.

Ron and Gloria Bell of Elgin said they are forever grateful for the actions of Elgin Police Department (EPD) Officer Doug Barton. The Bells and others recognized Barton during the November Elgin Town Council meeting for his actions.

On Aug. 5, a fire broke out in the kitchen of the Bells’ home in Windy Hill.

According to EPD Chief Harold Brown, Barton was at the home within four minutes of the call.

“He was the first person on the scene,” Brown said. “And he took action that some of us would not have taken or known to have taken. He grabbed the water hose and actually put out the fire with a garden hose.”

By the time the fire department arrived, Barton had already extinguished the flames.

“Because of his quick response, he was able to save the Bells’ personal belongings within the home as well as make sure neighboring homes were not harmed in the fire,” Brown said.

 Brown said after he saw the reports and interviewed the Bells, he submitted paperwork regarding the rescue to the S.C. Police Chief Association.

“Their board agreed with me that this was exemplary action,” Brown said.

The S.C. Police Association awarded Barton with the Certificate of Merit to honor his service.

Elgin Mayor Brad Hanley also presented Barton with a plaque from the town honoring his brave actions.

“If Officer Barton had not been there to put out that fire exactly when he did, it would have gone up into the second floor,” Gloria Bell said. “But because of his action, it saved our house. We are so grateful and so thankful for him.”

The Bells had to relocate after the fire to complete renovations on the home. They plan to soon move back into their house.

“If you want to make over your home, this is not how I would recommend doing it,” Ron Bell said.

The Bells presented Barton with a cake during the meeting to say “thank you” for saving their home.

In other business:

• Brown presented Elgin Town Council with options for alleviating traffic problems at the intersection of Pine and Main streets. The first recommendation was to install a sign to allow right turns only from Pine on to Main street between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The second suggestion was a left turn lane from U.S. 1 to Pine Street.

Brown said he didn’t think either of the solutions would solve all the town’s traffic problems, but it was “a cost-effective step forward.”

Council agreed with the suggestions and plans to meet with S.C. Department of Transportation officials to determine whether  the solutions Brown offered could be put into action.

• Councilwoman Melissa Emmons recommended Tabitha Kernan to serve on the Elgin Planning and Zoning Board. There are still two seats available. Anyone interested in serving should contact an Elgin Town Council member for more information.

“You don’t necessarily have to have a background in it to be able to serve,” Hanley noted.

Each board member must complete six hours of training provided by the town of Elgin.

• Hanley reported that Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenue for the month of September was up 19 percent from last year, but still under projection for this year’s budget.