Middle Georgia firefighters mourning, praying for fallen firefighter
Fire departments around Middle Georgia are flying their flags half staff in honor of Lt. Parker.
41NBC reached out to Baldwin County, Jones County, Warner Robins, and Peach County’s fire chiefs who say the brotherhood among firefighters becomes stronger than ever when tragedy strikes.
Jones County Asst. Fire Chief Bill Wright says he knew Parker and Cromer. Both men volunteered with the Jones County Fire Department. He added Cromer helped Jones County firefighters pull a woman and her daughter from their burning home a week ago.
“I worked with him for over 20 years,” said Wright. “He’s a good man, he’s gone through a lot of tragedy in his lifetime. You know he’s always upbeat, whenever you’re down he has an infectious way of bringing you back up with just his smile, that’s just the way he was. It’s very tragic.”
Baldwin County Fire Chief Troy Reynolds said his crew knew that someone was trapped in the Wednesday fire, but had no idea Lt. Parker was killed in the blaze.
“We’re putting together a crew if Macon-Bibb County Fire department needs us,” explained Reynolds. “I told Chief Riggins that we have equipment and a crew that will come in and assist them during this time.”
Warner Robins Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Ross Moulton says he met with Chief Riggins Wednesday night at the Medical Center, Navicent Health.
“Oh, my goodness, it’s a nightmare for a chief, but I felt, you know, really hurt for the family, hurt for all those guys that were there for the entire fire department,” said Moulton as he wept. “It’s like somebody punched me in the gut.”
Warner Robins Fire Department is accepting donations for the fire victims’ families.
Peach County Fire Chief Thomas Doles shared what he called “devastation” when he heard about the fatal house fire.
“Every fire we go on, that crosses my mind,” Doles explained. “That’s the main thing that I want to make sure is that everybody goes home safely.”
Doles says he feels Chief Riggins’ pain of losing Lt. Parker and having other firefighters injured in the blaze.
“We do everything humanly possible to try to keep our employees safe and I know Macon does the same thing,” said Doles. “But there’s just some things you just can’t anticipate.”
The fatal fire happened Wednesday around 5:45 p.m. at a Fairview Drive home. Macon-Bibb County firefighters responded to the West Macon home where neighbors reported hearing explosions.
According to Macon-Bibb County Fire Chief Marvin Riggins, the home’s floor collapsed, killing Parker.
Five other firefighters were injured battling the blaze: 59-year-old Battalion Chief Steven Stafford, 34-year-old Cpl. Adam Michie, 46-year-old Capt. Ferrell Cromer, 28-year-old Ben Bollinger and 27-year-old Matt Couey.
There is an online social media campaign asking everyone to leave their front porch lights on until the end of the month in memory of Lt. Parker.