Hundreds gather to pay respects to former Fire Chief

Chief Carr
Chief Carr

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - More than 40 fire engines and hundreds of firefighters from all over the region joined former Charleston Fire Chief Thomas Carr's funeral procession throughout downtown Charleston Monday.

Streets surrounding St. Michael's Episcopal Church, at the corner of Meeting and Broad streets, were closed for hours during the former chief's funeral service.

Carr died at his home, surrounded by family and friends, last Wednesday following complications from his continued battle with Parkinson's.

Five days later, almost 1,000 friends, family members and firefighters honored his memory by paying their respects to Carr as his ashes were carried by to a downtown cemetery.

Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh says the outpouring of support for the late chief was overwhelming.

"As you look around you see all the different labels on all the fire trucks here today and it's not just Charleston he had an impact on... He had an impact on our region," said Julazadeh.

The Fire Marshal says Carr's legacy will live on in the drastic changes he made to the department after he was hired in 2008.

"Chief Carr was an innovative leader," said Julazadeh. "He came to Charleston and he made monumental changes to the fire department and I think he'll forever change the way the Charleston fire department operates."

Carr brought the Automatic Aid system to Charleston. It is a system that redefined communication between first responders and cut down response times considerably.

An honor guard and a pipe and drum band from Montgomery County, Maryland, where Carr worked for 30 years, showed up to send off the former fire chief.

It was in Maryland where Carr began his career in 1973 as an 18-year-old volunteer paramedic.

He was hired as a career firefighter/paramedic in Montgomery Co. in 1977 and became the first operational fire chief of the County Fire Rescue service in 2004.

In 2008, he took over duties as Fire Chief of the Charleston Fire Department until his Parkinson's forced him to retire in 2012.

Carr was 59-years-old at the time of his death.

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