DAYTON, Tenn. — Dayton Fire Chief Charles L. Suttles reported Tuesday on the Dayton Fire-Rescue Facebook page that a firefighter was injured while fighting a commercial fire at Suburban Manufacturing Tuesday.
Chief Suttles says while performing assigned roof work, the firefighter fell through a weakened portion of the roof onto the floor below. Suttles says his protective equipment and the fact that he struck other building components on his way down slowed his impact with the floor.
Suttles says the firefighter injured his head and his hip, but is now home from the hospital, and will return to work in about three days.
In an emotional Facebook post, Chief Suttles says he apologizes to the firefighter, and says of the incident, “I broke a cardinal rule and abandoned my command position and ran in to the building to find my injured and missing child.”
An earlier post says the fire at Suburban Manufacturing on Broadway Street was contained to the paint room and damage to the building was minimal. Investigators still don’t know what caused the fire.
Chief Suttles said in his post,
“Every one of DFD’s personnel is highly trained and capable of taking command of any situation. Yesterday it was me. After twelve years as Fire Chief, I only thought I was ready for command. When one of my firefighters fell through the roof onto a concrete floor and a MAYDAY was called, I broke a cardinal rule and abandoned my command position and ran in to the building to find my injured and missing child.
That’s right, my missing child. I say that so you can imagine my feelings. Although we have had training and retraining on such an incident, I have never heard or experienced the MADAY call that affected me personally. No one can imagine my agony.
I sent a firefighter to perform a needed task and he became seriously injured. I sincerely apologize to the firefighter and his family. I would have done it myself had I known.”
Chief Suttles later added in am email to us, “We are so grateful that he is OK. We avoided what could have been a very serious injury.”