Kentucky Chief Killed During Snow Chain Drill

ELKHORN CITY, Ky. (AP) -- The fire chief of a small town in Pike County was killed during a training exercise to place snow chains on a fire truck.

Todd Rowe, 30, chief of the Elkhorn City Fire Department, was pronounced dead Thursday at Pikeville Medical Center.

Rowe was raising the truck with several 3-foot-square inflatable rubber cushions so chains could be put on the rear tires, Elkhorn firefighter Jack Stalker said.

A wedge that prevents the tires from rolling came loose and caused the truck to roll forward. That caused the air bags to shift with the force of the truck and strike Rowe in the head.

Rowe was knocked unconscious and died about 20 minutes later at Pikeville Methodist Hospital, said Stalker.

``It's basically just a freak accident,'' said Elkhorn assistant fire chief John Moore.

Elkhorn City firefighter George Anderson said Rowe was ``just a great kid.''

Rowe became a firefighter at age 18, in 1992, and had been a junior firefighter since he was 14, said Anderson.

Rowe was the public relations official for the Pike County Firefighters Association.

``He was community-oriented,'' Pike County Coroner Russell Roberts said. ``Anything that enhanced the community he lived in, he would lend a hand.''

Rowe's body was sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Frankfort for an autopsy, because the incident occurred on government property, Roberts said.

He is survived by his mother and brother Robbie, who is flying home from his military station in South Korea to attend the funeral.

Arrangements were pending at Bailey Funeral Home in Elkhorn City.

Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader

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