Quarantined NC fire chief dies from medical emergency while on duty

Tryon Fire Chief James "Tank" Waters, 40, was working from home when he suffered a fatal medical emergency

Duty Death: James “Tank” Waters - [Tryon, North Carolina]

End of Service: 04/07/2020

By Laura French

TYRON, N.C. — A North Carolina fire chief who was working from home while quarantining for COVID-19 died Wednesday from a medical emergency. 

Tryon Fire Chief James "Tank" Waters, 40, was on official duty at his residence when he fell ill and was later pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital, according to the U.S. Fire Administration

Waters was "larger than life" and "a true public servant" who served in the emergency services in Polk County for more than 20 years, according to a statement by Tryon officials. He had previously volunteered and worked with the Town of Columbus Fire Department, and had worked part-time at the Saluda Fire Department and Henderson County Rescue Squad in addition to serving as chief of the Tryon Fire Department. 

"Chief Waters poured his heart and soul into Polk County and its citizens for over 20 years. We were blessed to have him as a Chief, leader, friend, and role model," Tryon Town Manager Zach Ollis said in a statement. "Chief Waters proved himself to be a vital part of our team and we will forever remember his humor and love of life around the office." 

Waters is survived by his wife, one daughter, one grandson, two siblings, his parents and his maternal grandparents, according to his obituary

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a drive-thru viewing will be held at the Tryon Fire Department next week, and his funeral will be held with family at the department and live-streamed on the McFarland Funeral Chapel website.


. We are at a loss for words today as we mourn the passing of a true public servant and friend. Tank Waters was an...

Posted by Henderson County Rescue Squad on Tuesday, April 7, 2020


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