Tenn. firefighters recall rescuing missing boy

Blount County firefighters said the rescue of Kaydon Leach could be better described as the 6-year-old boy finding them


By FireRescue1 Staff

BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. — A group of firefighters that found a boy who went missing on the side of a mountain said the rescue could be better described as him finding them.

The Daily Times reported that Blount County firefighter Aaron Woods was performing a grid search to locate 6-year-old Kaydon Leach when he popped out and said hello about a half-mile into their search.

“We had started moving again after we reset the line and I heard, ‘Hey,’” Woods said. “And I turned to my right — I had just looked over there, too — I looked to my right, and there he stood. We were on a hill, and so it looked like he just kind of popped out of there.”

Leach went missing with his dog Monday and told firefighters he had “slept in the trees.”

“I asked him if he was scared, because he looked it,” Woods said. “I said, ‘Well we’re here now. You’re not going to believe how many people are out there looking for you.’”

Woods said the crew wrapped Leach in two jackets and fed him Pop-Tarts before firefighter Mike Webb carried him out on his back.

“The little guy was shaking, he looked cold and scared,” Webb said. “I asked him if he could walk and he said no, he was tired. So I knelt down beside him and said, ‘Hop on buddy. I’m the master at giving piggybacks.’ He climbed up, and we started walking. He was still eating his Pop-Tart. He had a death grip on me, too, let me tell you.”

Woods added that although the dog was carried away as Leach was put into an ambulance, “he didn’t want to leave.”

“We went back to the fire station as AMR transported (Leach) and the dog went with the whole group, and the dog kept watching the ambulance.”

Leach was transported to a hospital and released later that night. Firefighters said he appeared to be in good condition.

Blount County Fire Chief Doug McClanahan said the happy ending was thanks to a “great, big group effort.”

“Sheriff’s office, rescue squad, AMR Ambulance Service and then the state agencies and federal agencies … bottom line, the team was able to come away with a very great ending.”

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