Friday, September 16, 2016

Winecoff Firefighter Raymond McGill

Retired Chief of Training Raymond McGill in 2011 - photo by Donna Bowman

One of two living Winecoff firefighters is Raymond McGill. He is ninety-nine years old.

On the Winecoff Hotel fire scene, McGill worked ladder rescues on the Ellis St. side of the burning hotel and later went into the building. "People that could come down those stair wells, they would run over you getting down out of there, with fireman trying to get up. That's the biggest thing, turmoil there. People were excited."

Recalling a harsh moment McGill said, "I was on that rescue truck. I stayed there until we hauled people down to the Grady Hospital until the Grady people said, 'don't bring any more down here.' Chief Styron said, 'you tell 'em this is City business and if they have to stack 'em in the hall, they're going to keep on coming.' That's about the instruction I got."

And a lighter moment: "The scene that sticks in my mind, there was some fireman he was crawling around the floor up there. He crawled and he thought he was coming back out into the hallway. There was a closet. He got himself into that closet and didn't know where he was at, it was so close. And when he finally got out on the side he said, this is the statement he made, 'I to myself, I ain't got no business in here!'"

Raymond McGill later became Chief of Training. "Raymond McGill was every Atlanta fireman's mentor. Everyone. He was the go-to person for strategy and tactics for fighting any fire," said former Atlanta firefighter Danny Bowman.


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