Firefighter dies in crash while responding to call

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 4:17 PM EST
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DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. (WYMT) - Rocky Wood, forest technician for the division of forestry and chief of the Haysi Volunteer Fire Department, died in an ATV crash.

The incident happened around 8 p.m. on Thursday while Wood responded to a 15-acre wildfire in the area.

Virginia DOF Director of Fire and Emergency Response John Miller told WYMT, “Once we had a small bulldozer on scene- which is kind of our primary tool for trying to put a containment line around a fire - Rocky got the dozer started, proceeded on an ATV to get out in front of the dozer to do some scouting.”

According to Miller, in the effort to find the best location to maneuver the dozer, there was a crash with the ATV and Wood died as a result.

Those who knew Wood say he was one of a kind in everything he did.

“Almost the perfect employee,” said Miller. “Very dependable, a lot of initiative, hardworking, can-do kind of attitude, so friendly to be around.”

Wood was well-known in Haysi and its surrounding areas.

“He’s a long-time fire chief for the Haysi Volunteer Fire Department. Rocky’s just known as somebody that’s gonna volunteer to help wherever needed,” said Miller. “That carries forth not just in forestry, not just in wildfire control, but just really in all aspects of his community life.”

Miller continued, “Certainly, Rocky’s passing is just a real blow. Not just to our agency, but really to this whole community in multiple counties in this part of the state. Just the training, experience, and knowledge of the community just the shills that somebody like Rocky is almost immeasurable quite frankly and it’s just a tragic situation.”

As the community remembers his sacrifice, the department hopes those he was protecting will remember the people he has left behind.

“Certainly, all of his co-workers will share on that,” Miller said. “But we just want to recognize the family for having such a tragic loss in this time.”

Miller asked for the community to keep Rocky’s family in their prayers.

For more coverage of the incident, read more here.