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Incident Name:  Gap Creek Fire, near Elizabethton, Carter County, TN
Date: 02/27/1954
Personnel: 3 lives lost
Age:  19 year olds
Agency/Organization: Tennessee Department of Forestry
Position: firefighters

Summary: 

Herman L Carden, 19, Tennessee Division of Forestry
Stacey Kenneth Pierce, 19, Tennessee Division of Forestry
Jerry Duane Woods, 19, Tennessee Division of Forestry

On February  27, 1954 three young local Department of Forestry firefighters were fighting the Gap Creek Fire in Carter County, Tennessee when a strong wind pushed the fire upslope and the fire crowned. The firefighters were caught on the slope above the fire and were overrun. They perished.

 

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Maps

Gap Creek Road (closely parallels State 361 which runs E-W & 362 which runs N-S); Elizabethton, Carter County, TN, where these firefighters lived is a couple of miles to the NE.

The mountains to the east are pretty rugged but are in the Cherokee National Forest. Pin is in a ridgetop.

Alternatively the "Gap Creek Road" on the NE to SW oriented ridge just south of hwy 361 is not located in the National Forest but is timbered and rugged and near interface residences and farms.

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Record from the NWCG historical Wildland Firefighter Fatalities 1910-1996, page 2:

1954
Location: Gap Creek, TN
3 firefighter fatalities
Fire behavior: Strong wind pushed upslope and the fire crowned.
Remarks: Firefighters were caught on slope above fire.

Google "Find a grave" Tennessee Herman Carter

... found 2 graves -- Herman Carter's parents -- in the Nave Cemetary in Carter Co TN. Herman is probably buried there too. His dad was 40 when his son died.

Father Clyde Allen Carden was 90 when he died in 2003, Elizabethton, TN, Carter Co, TN.
Mother Hallie B Nave Carden was 87 when she died also in Elizabethton.

Herman Carden and Kenneth Pierce may have been cousins. Their mothers' maiden name -- Nave -- suggest they're related. Their mothers were Hallie Nave Carden and Bertha Nave Pierce, respecitvely. There's a Nave Cemetary where Herman's parents are buried. Not all graves are photographed for the Find a Grave website.

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Contributors to this article: David Fiorella, Mellie

 

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