Mayor: 'Chief Thomas Carr was a great man who left a profound legacy'

Published: Apr. 25, 2013 at 3:14 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2013 at 5:14 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said former City of Charleston Chief Thomas Carr "was a great man who left a profound legacy."

Carr was at his home surrounded by family and friends when he passed away on Wednesday following complications from his continued battle with Multiple System Atrophy, a Parkinsonian Syndrome.

"Members of the Charleston Fire Department will be forever changed by his leadership," said Fire Chief Karen Brack. "His vision moved this department forward and kept everyone moving in a positive direction."

At the time of his passing, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said Chief Carr leaves a "profound legacy."

Carr was named the Chief of the Charleston Fire Department in November 2008 after retiring as Chief of the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service in Montgomery County, Maryland.

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.

After a national search, Carr was selected from a large group of qualified candidates.

The Department was reeling at the time he took the reigns. A year earlier, nine firefighters died following the Sofa Super Store fire in June 2007. It was the loss of life and need for a better system that propelled Carr into the role.

In April of 2010, Carr announced he had Parkinson's disease to a room full of firefighters and friends.

At the time, he said the diagnosis was 'devastating to some extent' but he remained focused on his work in Charleston leading the Fire Department.

He retired from his post in March of 2012 because of his failing health.

In a statement released Thursday by the Fire Department, Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh wrote, "It is with heavy hearts that the Charleston Fire Department announces the passing of retired Fire Chief Thomas Carr. On April 24, 2013, Chief Carr passed away after complications from his continued battle with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a Parkinsonian Syndrome. He was at his home, surrounded by family and friends."

Funeral service information has not yet been released.

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