End of the Year Report 2013
2013 was a year experienced with mixed emotions. While our community experienced many tragedies; from horrific car crashes to an EF-1 tornado to a fire in our beautiful historic downtown area; we also saw the greatness and strength of our community.
A horrific car crash took the lives of two people and left a one year old child alone in a car on February 6th. Two bystanders, travelling in separate vehicles, stopped to provide assistance before any emergency personnel could arrive. Mrs. Keona Johnson and Mrs. Leanne McAtee provided aide and care for the small child and remained at the scene for nearly two hours while the family was notified of the accident. Both women demonstrated selfless acts of kindness and bravery on that day and were publicly recognized at a Carthage City Council meeting on March 12th.
Mother Nature struck again in 2013, as she has in the last several years. As you recall, 2011 brought blizzard conditions which attempted to cripple our community. Extreme drought conditions not seen since 1980 plagued our area in 2012. In 2013, Mother Nature did what legend said couldn’t be done; Carthage experienced the first tornado in documented history on May 19th. The strength and resolve of this community made it possible to meet the unique challenges of each severe weather event we encountered.
On June 6th firefighters from several jurisdictions converged on the Carthage square to battle a fire most firefighters won’t experience in their entire careers. At approximately 3:05 p.m. a fire was reported in the historic downtown area. More than 35 firefighters worked for nine hours before the fire was brought under control. While the building, occupied by the Sassy Spoon, was a total loss, firefighters were able to prevent fire from consuming several adjoining businesses. The Carthage Fire Department received assistance from Joplin, Webb City, and Carterville Fire Departments; as well as the Carthage Police Department, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Mercy EMS, Carthage Water and Electric, Carthage Public Works Department, Carthage Street Department, and the American Red Cross. Oronogo and Carterville Fire Departments responded to our station and covered our response area while our personnel were dedicated to the fire on the square. Numerous citizens assisted in preparing meals for on-scene firefighters, as well as firefighters who covered all other emergency calls in the Carthage Fire District.
In October, the Carthage Fire Department received a donation of a 28 volt lithium-ion battery powered rescue tool from Butterball of Carthage. The tool, valued at $10,000, will give firefighters the ability to make rapid access to trapped victims in areas not accessible with traditional gas-powered rescue equipment.
The Carthage Fire Department closed out 2013 with the retirement of Tom Nixon, a 33 year employee of the department. Tom retired at the rank of Fire Marshal. This retirement brought many changes within our department, which are highlighted later in this report.
While 2013 brought many unique experiences for our personnel; it also allowed us to see how amazing Carthage and the citizens who call it home are. I am truly blessed and humbled to serve as Fire Chief of the Carthage Fire Department.
This report has been compiled to provide statistical data with regard to the department profile, calls for service trends, and programs of the Carthage Fire Department. The report has been completed by the Chief Officers and Captains of the department, with individual reports from each officer. I know this is a lengthy report, but I hope you find the information beneficial.
Christopher B. Thompson