NewsCovering Kentucky


Lexington Firefighters Mark 22 Years Since Deadly Fall, Review Lessons Learned

Posted at 9:32 AM, Feb 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-17 09:32:13-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Firefighters in Lexington will pause Sunday to remember one of their own.

In 1997, 29-year-old Chuck Williams was killed in the line of duty. Williams died after he fell through the floor of a house that was intentionally set on fire.

Every year, Lexington Fire Department officials bring new recruits to Williams’ grave site, to reinforce the lessons learned and how his death fundamentally changed the department.

His death prompted changes in the department’s accountability system, and it became protocol for firefighters to have portable radios to call for help.

Those who served with Williams still find it hard to talk about what happened 22 years ago, and the emotions are still raw.

“We are a family … and it’s tough losing a family member, especially under those circumstances,” said Major Jordan Saas. “So it’s still very real to a lot of the people who were there that day.”

This time of year is tough for the department. It just commemorated the 15-year anniversary of the death of Lt. Brenda Cowan, the first black female firefighter in Lexington. Cowan was shot and killed in the line of duty.