News 12 6 p.m./ Saturday Sept. 7, 2013
SARDIS, Ga. (WRDW) - Chief Rusty Sanders runs the Burke County EMA and even though he oversees 911, the fire department, and other emergency services.
He says it always hurts when any first responders are hurt on the job, "Locally we look at all of us as being one large family, but when you work in an agency you learn to depend on the other people you work with in this business."
And that's exactly what Corporal Jay Hollingsworth, with the Burke County Sheriff's office was doing.
"We got a call to a structure fire somewhere around 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon," said Chief Sanders.
He says it's normal for deputies to come and help with crowd control or traffic when his men are putting out fires, but working dangerous situations sometimes means dangerous outcomes.
"They heard a little pop and about that time, from what I understand, Deputy Hollingsworth grabbed his stomach and had some pain and went down to the ground," Sanders said.
That pop-- was an accidental gun shot from a 9 mm, that was still in the shed. The gun wasn't fully loaded, but did have enough ammunition to cause damage.
"When you got a round in the chamber that detonates --whether it detonates from the heat or the fire, or somebody pulling the trigger and engaging the fire pin, you end up with the same result." he told News12.
Crews were back at the shed the next morning trying to put the last flames out that were started from a hot lawn mover recently stored in the shed-- something EMA director Sanders doesn't recommend.
"Wash their lawn movers off, get all the dry grass and everything off of it--make sure there is no gasoline leaking-- make sure it's cool to the touch before you put it back into a structure like that," he said.
Corporal James Hollingsworth is also a DARE officer for the county and very active in the community. Sheriff Greg Coursey is asking everyone to keep the corporal and his family in their prayers.