Missouri Firefighter Killed, Entangled in Conveyer Belt at Fire

A 32-year-old firefighter with Neosho Fire Department in Missouri was killed Monday at a fire scene.

Timmy Shane Hardy, a father of six, was killed while riding a conveyor belt in an attempt to get better look at a grain bin fire at Ragland Mills Inc., a livestock feed company.

Hardy was one of those firefighters who knew what needed to be done, and did it, said Fire Chief Greg Hickman. "He was always making sure the equipment was ready. You didn't even have to ask."

Hardy died after becoming entangled in the conveyor belt that he was riding to examine a fire in an adjoining bin. The chief said firefighters first speculated something was terribly wrong when they couldn't reach Hardy on his radio and simultaneously discovered that the belt was inoperable.

Employees at the company were the first to reach him, and confirm that he had become entangled, and was dead. Other firefighters climbed outside ladders as well to get to their colleague. The investigation is being handled by the Missouri State Fire Marshal's Office.

Chief Hickman said fire companies from neighboring jurisdictions are taking over for his crews to give them a chance to grieve and be with their families. A stress counselor met with his personnel Monday night, and are expected back later.

"It's been pretty rough today," he said. "Tim was well-liked, a good fireman who always did his best...He was always taking classes to be better."

Funeral services with full fire department honors are set for 10 a.m. Thursday at Calvary Baptist Church. Companies wanting more information should contact the Neosho Fire Co.

Hardy's tragic death has left the town stunned, said Vickie Dexter, human resources director. "Everyone knows everyone here."

"His life was dedicated to the fire department. That's all he ever wanted to be, a fireman," Ms. Dexter said. "He was always willing to help, to pitch in and do what need to be done."

He started off volunteering in 1994, and was hired on as a career firefighter in 1999.

The chief said about 50 years ago a volunteer with the department died while battling a brush fire.

Neosho Fire Chief Greg Hickman said he would make additional comments about his firefighter later.


A Town Mourns: Neosho firefighter dies in line of duty

Neosho Daily News Staff Writer, Reprinted with Permission

Fireman down!

Gut-sinking words screamed out early Monday afternoon from the top of one of the feed bins at Ragland Mills Inc., just west of Neosho on 14079 Hammer Road.

Timmy Hardy, 11-year veteran of the Neosho Fire Department, lost his life Monday as he attempted to reach a fire which had broke out in one of the mill's wheat-hull silos.

At about 12:49 p.m. on Monday afternoon, firefighters with the Neosho Fire Department and the Seneca Area Fire Protection District responded to calls of a fire at Ragland Mills, a livestock feed plant.

While firemen ran a hose through one of the windows and entered the building, Deputy Chief Mike Eads waved away spectators from the structure, which was trickling gray smoke from one of the westernmost feed bins.