MOUNT PLEASANT — The text was straightforward, much like Renee Thomas herself.

“It’s all fallen out. It’s all gone,” she wrote.

Mount Pleasant Fire Lt. Troy Thomas didn’t hesitate. His wife had lost the last of her hair to chemotherapy for cervical cancer. Thomas turned to the other firefighters on the crew and asked if anybody had shears. If Renee could brave her way through this, he could at least lose his hair, too.

Thomas’ entire Station 4 shift shaved bald. Then another Station 4 shift did.

One by one, other shifts and individual firefighters went under the shears.

About a third of the town’s 100 firefighters have shaved heads and others are joining in.

Read more later at and in tomorrow’s Post and Courier.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.