Bradley County Fire Captain killed in crash is laid to rest - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bradley County Fire Captain killed in crash is laid to rest

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A Bradley County Fire Captain was laid to rest on Monday. Wallace Varnell, 55, was killed last Wednesday when his truck was struck head-on by another vehicle on Highway 60 in Cleveland.

Fellow firefighters say it will be impossible fill the boots worn by Varnell.

The fire truck carrying the long-time firefighter, draped with black cloth, made one last stop at Fire Station 3 on Monday afternoon, sounding its siren to honor Varnell's last call of duty.

Followed by a long line of emergency vehicles, the 55-year-old's funeral procession stretched far down Lead Mine Valley Road.

A Bradley County firefighter since 1993, Varnell served as Captain for the last 10 years. Station 3 was his second home.

"He was the backbone of that station. He was one of the founding fathers of it. You can't replace that," said Chief Troy Maney.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, 65-year-old Edward Brewer of Cleveland was speeding when he tried passing another vehicle on the two-lane highway, lost control, and hit Varnell's truck head-on.

Back at Station 3, Varnell's void will never be filled.

"The job he did at the fire hall. Yeah, someone will do that job. Someone will pick up and go on. We'll still answer calls because that's what he'd want us to do," Maney said.

"But those boots he wore... no one will ever fill."

Varnell leaves behind two children, a grandchild and a fiance. Both drivers killed were wearing their seat belts. The crash is still under investigation.

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