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Team Dyess exemplifies safety, “people first” mentality during base emergency

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alondra Cristobal Hernandez
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron responded after a large-scale electrical outage and subsequent fire at Dyess Air Force Base on July 29, 2023.

At approximately 7 a.m., one-third of on-base housing lost power. The 7th CES electrical team quickly responded to troubleshoot the issue, but an inability to locate the problem’s source left more than 150 homes without power throughout the day. Meanwhile, temperatures were climbing to over 100 degrees.

To mitigate the heat’s harmful effects, wing leadership authorized families who lost power to move to off-base housing. All families affected were reimbursed for meals, lodging, pet fees and groceries.

“Taking care of our Airmen and the families who support them is always a top priority,” said Col. Seth Spanier, 7th Bomb Wing commander. “As soon as we realized this wasn’t going to be a quick fix, we focused on getting members and their families to a safe environment.”

Meanwhile, 7th CES electricians worked tirelessly to restore power. While troubleshooting, the main line fuses blew, causing a spark that started a fire. The 7th CES Fire Department provided emergency support to extinguish the fire and the 7th Security Forces Squadron secured the scene and aided in identifying the fire’s boundaries.

“Not long after we got people out of the area, we worked toward attacking the fire,” said Master Sgt. Gregory Smith, 7th CES Fire Department incident commander. “The entirety of the operation took about two hours, but we made sure to check two times later that night just to make sure there weren't any flare ups.”

The quick response of the 7th CES, 7th SFS, and wing leadership exemplified the wing’s commitment to the safety and welfare of Airmen and their families, providing 24/7 support.

“It was my first weekend in command, so I should have known an emergency was coming,” said Spanier. “Jokes aside, I couldn’t be more proud of how the team responded to this. It was extremely hot, on a weekend, and the challenges kept piling up. From CE to fire to the volunteers bringing cold drinks to those working in the heat, everyone really came together to take care of one another…that’s exactly the type of environment you want to see, putting people first.”