The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has lost one of its great allies in its mission to improve the health and safety of firefighters with the death last night of Chief Tom Carr. The Foundation had the honor of working closely with Chief Carr as he led departments in both South Carolina and Maryland.
Chief Carr joined the Charleston Fire Department in November of 2008 after retiring as Chief of the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service. Chief Carr was widely-recognized as a distinguished and effective leader who helped the Charleston Fire Department recover after nine firefighters died while fighting a furniture store fire in June of 2007.
“Tom Carr’s leadership in Charleston after that tragic fire is truly one of the most remarkable stories of leadership in the modern fire service. He was able to guide the department through 20 years of change in less than five years,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. “Tom would tell you the Charleston firefighters did that. The firefighters have told us many times Chief Carr showed us the way.”
Carr joined the Montgomery County (MD) Fire & Rescue Service in 1973 as a volunteer. Five years later he became a career firefighter and paramedic, rising through the department to become Chief in 2003. He was highly regarded for his progressive and innovative approaches to fire and rescue techniques, particularly in auto-extrications and collapse rescues. Carr was praised throughout the fire service for his efforts to ensure the members of his departments operated at a professional and consistently safe manner.
“The fire service has lost a treasure with the passing of Chief Tommy Carr,” said Chief Dennis Compton, chairman of the Board of Directors of the NFFF. “Tommy was a consummate professional and a great person. Chief Carr was also a true friend and dedicated supporter of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, as well as other state and national fire service organizations and initiatives. His leadership, character and common sense added quality to everything he touched. Our hearts are heavy as we keep Tommy, his wife Anne, family and friends in our hearts and prayers. May he rest in everlasting peace.” The Foundation will share information about funeral arrangements when they are available.