INCLUDES VIDEO: Fellow firefighter Lt. Tim Rhudy
remembers Jarrett Little
Walker County Emergency Services Chief Randy Camp remembers fallen firefighter Jarrett Little as a team player.
Jarretts personality was just, Ill do whatever I need to do and you ask me and Ill just do it. And he never questioned anything. He is actually an ideal worker as far as management goes, Camp said.
I never saw him not smiling, Camp said.
Little, 24, of Ringgold died Wednesday night after the fire truck he was driving wrecked on the way to a fire. He is the first Walker County firefighter to die in the line of duty.
The truck was heading to a structure fire on Windy Leigh Circle on Wilson Road. Little was responding to a call that came in sometime after 10 p.m. Little and two other firefighters, Matt Mills and Adam Lozano, were on their way to the Wilson Road fire.
Little was driving a freightliner fire engine that was carrying 1,500 gallons of water, which overturned while making a left turn from Mission Ridge Road onto McFarland Avenue in Rossville.
Mills and Lozano sustained minor injuries.
Camp said some news coverage has been misinformed.
To see video of interview with Camp, click here.
The comment was made that it was his first day at Station 6 (in Chickamauga). He had been at Station 11 in the Lynwood community before that. That was his first day at Station 6, Camp said.
Little was working a 24-48 shift, Camp said. On a 24-48 shift, a firefighter works 24 hours and is off 48 hours.
There is a misnomer that he was not familiar with that intersection and he had went that exact same route on a call earlier that day. We had a brush fire behind Ridgeland High School and he responded with Station 2, Camp said. So, he was familiar with it.
It is just one of those things. Its just a bad accident.
Details on the wreck
Camp said that he is waiting on the Georgia State Patrols accident report to determine how the wreck took place.
Witnesses are saying that it (the fire truck) flipped. It rolled over, but I dont know. I am waiting on the State Patrols report. But there is not much space there (on the road). I dont think it (the fire truck) had enough room to completely even roll once. That is just a personal opinion, Camp said.
There is kind of mixed stories, but there is not enough room. If you look at the site, it is a big embankment. So there wasnt enough space to roll multiple times.
Camp said the fire truck struck a power pole, but he doesnt believe that the pole kept Little trapped in the fire truck.
According to Camp, Little was upside down in the truck and the truck was resting upright in a ditch, where the drivers side to the blunt of the force.
Camp said that Little was wearing a seatbelt.
The Georgia State Patrol is conducting an investigation as to the cause of the accident.
According to Camp, Little was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe.
According to Camp, the fire truck was left on the site early into the morning, while investigators re-enacted the accident.
Dealing with tragedy
Asked how Littles fellow firefighters are dealing with the tragedy, Camp said, Very hard. It is a difficult thing to deal with, but they just keep telling each other to get on the truck and do their job, because that is what Jarrett would want them to do.
We were like a family, so it is like loosing a family member, Camp said. The fire service in not like any other job. (In most jobs) you dont go to your job and basically live with them. You are there, but you dont sleep in the bunk room, you are not there 24 hours and fixing dinners together and cleaning the house up. We do all that stuff, Camp said. You get to really know the guy.
Camp said chaplins have been there to support Littles fellow firefighters.
Littles brother, Sean, is a fulltime firefighter for Catoosa County and volunteers at the Fort Oglethorpe Fire Department.
According to Camp, Walker, Catoosa and Fort Oglethorpe fire departments are flying their flags half-staff.
Little was very experienced
Camp said Little spent time volunteering at the Boynton Fire Department for Fort Oglethorpe in Catoosa County.
According to Camp, Little had experience driving the fire truck.
We are very aggressive in our training, as far as our driving program. The two things that firefighters are confronted with are heart attacks and accidents, so we work heavy on that with physical training. Our driving program is certified through National Professional Qualifications of Firefighters as a driver apparatus operator, so he was NPQ-certified and had went through an extensive training program to do all the requirements, Camp said.
Camp is very passionate and serious about firefighters meeting all of their requirements, especially driving the fire trucks.
Sadly, it is just an accident. Its sad it happened that way and the news media is out there saying that it was his first day on the job. If I was a chief hearing that from another department, I would think bad about that chief saying, Wait a minute, you hired a guy and you stuck him driving a truck the very first day? I would think that is crazy and that needs to be clarified, because we dont do that and we never have.
Camp said Little has been at the department for more than a year.
Camp said he is waiting on the Georgia State Patrols report to give him indication the speed Little was driving.
Donations are being accepted for the Little family at Walker County Emergency Services in Rock Spring. Donations can be dropped off, or mailed to 10054 Highway 27 in Rock Spring.
They can either mail them here or bring them by and we will get that money to the family, Camp said.
He will be missed. We lost a good firefighter and the community lost a good public servant. He cared about the department and he cared about the community and he wanted to do a good job. Jarrett had a lot of training and he was one of those that wanted to be the best that he could be.
Jarrett even went to outside training classes on his own too. He was a very caring and compassionate person and I would just like for people to remember him like that. He always had a smile on his face. His smile went from ear-to-ear. I could actually be down-and-out and walk by somebody that is real upbeat like that and I would think I need to be like that. . I would like for people to remember him as a firefighter that was compassionate and cared about what he did, Camp said.
Fellow firefighter remembers Jarrett
Lt. Tim Rhudy, 28, of Wallaceville worked with Little at Station 2 in Linwood.
I was Jarretts officer for probably six months prior to this. Jarrett was a good friend. We would hang out and do stuff off-duty. He would come to my house several times, Rhudy said.
He was the go-to guy at the station as far as getting stuff done. If you needed anything handled, you could call him up and he would take care of it. He was very thorough and a really great firefighter and a great individual as a person, Rhudy said. He never had to be told anything twice.
According to Rhudy, Little was always willing to learn and was very knowledgeable of his work.
He worked for the fire department and then his hobby was the fire department. He was a volunteer and also an employee, Rhudy said.
Rhudy said that Little would even run calls on his off days.
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Obituary: Service is Sunday
Little died on Wednesday, Dec. 31 2008.
He was a lifelong resident of North Georgia and a 2002 graduate of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School where he was active in ROTC and was also a member of the marching band.
Jarrett was a member of the Walker County Fire Department and was a volunteer fire fighter with the Fort Oglethorpe Fire Department Station 8.
He was certified in rope/swift water rescue and helped with wild fires at the Florida-Georgia border.
Jarrett was a sub at the Ringgold Post Office as well as working many other jobs constantly. He also enjoyed rock climbing.
Survivors include his parents, Kenny and Becky Little, Ringgold; brother, Sean (Kayla) Little, Fort Oglethorpe; grandparents, Barbara LeCroy and Carl and Aurelia Little, all of Rossville; several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Funeral services will be 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4, n the Walker County Civic Center with Chaplain Neal Brown officiating.
Honorary pallbearers will be firefighters with Walker County and Fort Oglethorpe fire departments.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Walker County Emergency Services, c/o Traci Reece, 7249 Highway 27, Rock Spring, Ga. 30739, St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, or your local fire department.
The family will receive friends from 2-8 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Funeral Home and Crematory, Battlefield Parkway.
For more on the funeral service, click here.
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