Lives over trucks | Helmet returned to Sevier Co. firefighter that had to abandon tanker
Officials said that the fire had become “extremely erratic” during the battle due to low humidity and high winds.
SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - The helmet of a firefighter who was forced to abandon the tanker he was operating while battling a Sevier County wildfire was returned to him Saturday.
On Wednesday, March 30, the Sevier County Fire Department dispatched a tanker and a Wildland Unit to a fire that would soon be known as the Hatcher Mountain Fire. Once there, crews started to work hard in difficult fire conditions that were threatening multiple structures.
At the top of Hatcher Mountain in the midst of chaos was Tanker 111, along with several other fire vehicles. Officials said that the fire had become “extremely erratic” during the battle due to low humidity and high winds.
During this time, the fire reportedly began to move up the mountain, where Tanker 111 was stationed. Crews were forced to evacuate and abandon the tanker. Unfortunately, SCFD’s only tanker apparatus was destroyed during the “erratic push by the fire.”
The tanker operator, Maintenance Chief Jim Carr, was luckily able to make it out safely without injuries.
“We are so very thankful to have our member still with us,” SCFD shared. “It was a very close call that we pray we never have to endure again.”
While his gear was believed to be lost in the fire, one of Chief Carr’s valuable possessions, his helmet or “lid,” was found and returned to him on Saturday. Even though it sustained heavy damage, a spokesperson from the fire department said it meant the world to him to have it back.
“A firefighters helmet or ‘Lid’ as we call them is a staple of that individual,” a spokesperson with SCFD said. “Your helmet protects the most valuable asset, and we wear these helmets for just about everything we do.”
SCFD officials thanked citizens and visitors who showed support or donated to them in the last week. They also thanked the agencies that assisted in getting the operator’s helmet back to him.
“Trucks are replaceable, people are not,” officials said.
Those who wish to donate to the SCFD to assist in the placement of lost equipment and gear can do so here. Officials are continuing to battle the Hatcher Mountain Fire and the Millstone Gap Fire; live updates can be found here.
Copyright 2022 WVLT. All rights reserved.