Assistant Tryon fire chief to speak at historical museum Nov. 8

Published 8:00 am Thursday, October 25, 2018

James “Tank” Waters, assistant Tryon Fire Chief, will explain challenges that now fall to his department at the Tryon Historical Museum at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8.

In high school, Waters got his first taste of firefighting as part of an FFA program, in which selected students were trained to assist the forest service in fire suppression, an experience that proved helpful when his department assisted in quelling the Party Rock fire above Lake Lure several years ago.

Waters said times are a changing. Now, besides fires, his department also handles rescue and medical emergency calls.

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The Tryon Fire Department, headed by Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant and assisted by 25 to 30 volunteers, handles 1,000 to 1,200 calls a year. Tryon, which is a certified EMS and heavy rescue department, now has members trained in deep water and wilderness rescue.

For recovery of the victim who fell off the waterfall near Twin Bridges this past spring, this meant several members had to repel down the rock face, where the deceased was strapped into a Stokes basket to be carried out on the back of a fireman, who was then lifted up by belay lines to the point where transport by a gator was possible.

“I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t seen, and seen things I’ll never forget,” Waters said. “But this is our job, and we have to be able to do it.”

Most recent major fire Waters and his men fought was the total loss of the historic Melrose Inn.

Waters’ presentation will be free and open to the public, as are all events at the Tryon Historical Museum, located at 26 Maple St.

– Submitted by Jackie Burke