Volunteer FF says thermal imaging camera helped him survive Tenn. wildfire

“I saw a dark spot which looked like a road," said Jim Carr, Sevier County Fire Department's maintenance chief


By Leila Merrill

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — A Sevier County volunteer firefighter says two things saved his life during the recent Wears Valley wildfire — God and a thermal imaging camera, WATE reported.

“I can’t even describe the blinding smoke, the burning eyes, and not being able to breathe. None of us had structural turnout gear on to protect us from heat, we’re wearing plain clothes,” said Jim Carr, Sevier County Fire Department's maintenance chief.

Carr had been told to supply water and said the fire grew fast.

“I got inside the truck and gave a mayday to command to let them know we were trapped and in trouble,” said Carr.

He thought he would die. Then he used the camera.

“I saw a dark spot which looked like a road. Dark spot on a thermal imaging camera usually means colder areas. The closer I could get I realized it was a bulldozer road,” he said.

Carr sustained ember burns. Other firefighters also survived.


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