TN Firefighter Survives Nearly 25-Foot Fall with Only Bruises

May 14, 2020
"I felt agony, I felt regret, and I just felt miserable because I sent him to do that job, and he got hurt," Dayton Fire Chief Charles Suttles wrote in an online post about a mayday during a fire call.

A Tennessee firefighter survived a nearly 25-foot fall through a roof and onto a concrete floor during a fire call Tuesday.

In a social media post Wednesday, Dayton Fire Chief Charles Suttles expressed his regret over the incident.

"I sent a firefighter to perform a needed task and he became seriously injured," Suttles wrote. "I sincerely apologize to the firefighter and his family. I would have done it myself had I known."

Dayton firefighters responded to an industrial fire that had started in the paint room of a manufacturing plant. Because the fire was between the plant's roof and ceiling, crews were on the roof to try to open it up.

But the roof was weak, and before a ladder could be secured, a firefighter fell through, Suttles said. A mayday call was then issued.

"I felt frightened, I had no idea who it was, where they were in the plant, and what happened to them, I just knew there was a fireman that was in trouble, that needed rescue," Suttles told WRCB-TV.

Fortunately, the plant's ductwork slowed the firefighter's fall, and his protective gear helped to blunt the impact. Suttles said the firefighter only suffered bruising, and he did not have a concussion or broken bones.

"He's actually due to be on duty (Thursday), but he can't be per the doctor's orders. But he says that he could if it weren't for the doctor," Suttles told WRCB. "So I'm very proud of him and his service to the fire department."