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The passing of Chief Tom Carr

A chat with Chief Tom Carr about seatbelts and firefighter safety in 2008 not long before his move to Charleston.

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I am sad to report the death of Chief Tom Carr. The former chief of the Charleston Fire Department in South Carolina and the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service in Maryland passed away at 59-years-old Wednesday evening.

Having first met Tom Carr when he was a lieutenant in Montgomery County, I was quickly impressed with his intelligence and his manner in dealing with people.

Having the opportunity to cover him as a reporter when he was chief was a joy. From my perspective on the outside, Tom Carr was one of those rare individuals who could lead without having to stand in the spotlight to do so. The conversation was never about him and what he has done to lead his department. He didn’t sweat the petty and small things. He always saw the bigger picture and knew how to motivate others to see his vision. As one of his young officers in Charleston told me early last year, “When I’m on Tuesday, Chief Carr’s already on Friday.”

Tom Carr knew the real measure of a fire chief was not how many times he could be on TV, but how well he served his firefighters and how well they served the public.


A former leader of the Charleston Fire Department has passed away.

ABC News 4 has learned that former fire chief Thomas Carr died following a battle with MSA, a rapid form of Parkinson’s disease. He was 59 years old.

Chief Carr was hired as Charleston’s fire chief in 2008. He helped reshape and redefine the department following the 2007 Sofa Super Store fire that killed nine Charleston firefighters.

In 2010, Carr told his staff that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

In March of 2012, Carr retired from the department.

Mayor Joe Riley told ABC News 4 he had visited with the chief recently.

In a statement, Riley said, “Thomas Carr was a great man who left a profound legacy. His implementation of automatic aid in our region was transformative. He was an innovator in the fire service and made a great impact on our region.”

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