Bertie Co. volunteer firefighter injured after chimney collapses during training exercise

BERTIE COUNTY, N.C. — A Bertie County volunteer firefighter is recovering at a North Carolina hospital after a chimney collapsed on top of him on Sunday.

Officials say just before 12 p.m on April 8th, fire units were performing a controlled burn for fire training at an old vacant structure in the 3900 block of Governors Road in Kelford. As the burn was almost completed, firefighters watered down debris to prevent re-kindling.

The only structures remained standing were two brick chimneys on both sides of the vacant home, says spokesperson for Kelford VFD.

James Pugh, a volunteer firefighter for Kelford, was removing debris near one of the chimneys when the chimney collapsed on top of him.

Officials say Pugh was wearing full protective gear at the time of the collapse.

Paramedics and firemen quickly removed Pugh from the rubble and shortly after airlifted by  East Care Emergency to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

On Monday,  a member of the  North Carolina Fire Marshal’s Office along with Kelford VFD Fire Chief Tim Emory came to the site of the accident to take a report.

There is a GoFundMe account created by Chief Emory to help Pugh’s family.

Emory says Pugh has a long road to recovery. He has had surgery and appears to be doing well.

Kelford Volunteer Firefighter James Pugh (Photo credit: Angie Todd)