Bluefield Fire Department honored for heroic rescue

BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY) – The Bluefield Fire Chief and his team were honored with a plaque for their heroism– saving the life of a Mercer County man last week.

“I just wanted to really highlight the work our firefighters do and recognize their great efforts,” says Cecil Marson, Bluefield City Manager. “It just gives a lot of pride to the city, as the City Manager here I just can’t think of a better team than our fire department and I just think it’s great that the surrounding community thinks of us first if there is something to happen.”

Jerry Clower didn’t come home on Monday, Sept. 20 after heading out on his ATV to hunt squirrels. He was headed down a steep hillside when the ATV flipped and rolled. Clower freed himself from the ATV, but didn’t have the strength to continue on.

“They called me about 3 and told me they have a missing person and asked if we could go on the call, and I said well you know, we need to get a hold of Chief Sommers to make sure it’s alright, to let him know that the resources are here in Bluefield are still available,” Bluefield Fire Chief Chad Bailey says. “We started calling the local guys that work here in so we not only had coverage for the city but coverage to go to the call and help.”

The next day, first responders and Clower’s family set out to find him– which they eventually did, almost 24 hours after he’d left home. Clower was found nearly a thousand feet down the side of a mountain near Matoaka and a place known as the Slate Dump. A rope rescue was the only way to get him out.

“It’s an honor to know that these guys are capable of going out and assisting other departments, no matter what the call involves we can be there, we are EMT’s, as well as we can do rope rescue, we can do a little bit of everything,” adds Bailey.

Once Clower was rescued, he was raced by ATV to a waiting ambulance and taken to Princeton Community Hospital. Clower only suffered minor injuries.

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