Tennessee Fire Chief Abandons Command Post for Mayday, Posts Apology on Facebook

Dayton fire chief left command post when mayday was transmitted

(City of Dayton Fire Rescue, Facebook)

FirefighterNation Staff

DAYTON, Tennessee — NewsChannel9 reports that Dayton Fire Chief Charles Suttles took an unusual approach to admitting an error while working as the incident commander during a commercial structure fire on Tuesday.

In a Facebook post on the department’s page Chief Suttles wrote about abandoning his position to rush inside and look for a downed firefighter.

Firefighters had responded to a fire at Suburban Manufacturing. The fire was in the ceiling area of the building.

During firefighting operations, a firefighter fell through the roof and a mayday was transmitted.

Suttles wrote that despite extensive and repeated training on maydays his emotions got the better of him and he rushed inside to locate the firefighter.

“I broke a cardinal rule and abandoned my command position and ran in to the building to find my injured and missing child.” Suttles wrote.

He added “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.”

FirefighterNation & FireRescue Magazine:
Essential Steps for Command Officers During a Mayday
Incident Command
Mayday 101
Mayday Training Done Right
Preparing for the Mayday
Thinking Firefighters

The firefighter suffered injuries to his head and hip.  He has been released from the hospital and will return to work in approximately three days.


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