Inmates rescue their chief from car crash - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Inmates rescue their chief from car crash

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WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -

For the first time we are hearing from the men responsible for saving a local fire chief's life. Inmates serving on the Walker State Prison Fire Department were on their way to Rossville when Chief Matthew Mann was struck head on by another vehicle.  The inmates, who were following behind him, were able to save the man who taught them how to be firefighters.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Walker State Prison Fire Chief recovering from crash

More than 200 Georgia inmates serve in the offender fire fighter program. Those state inmates respond to over 3,000 calls a year, and know how to jump in when someone is in trouble. When the Walker County Fire Chief found himself in harm’s way, he said his men answered the call.

READ MORE | Chief Mann celebrates wedding at hospital during his recovery

“It was a pretty normal day from the beginning and then all of a sudden it went "Phew," said Walker State Prison inmate Roy Abrams.

Fire fighters at Station Nine are more than inmates, they're brothers. When their chief was involved in an accident, they didn't hesitate. “We didn't have time to think about it. Our training kicked in. Guys started pulling tools off and immediately went to extraction process.”    

Chief Matthew Mann’s van was struck head on. The inmate who was riding along didn't want to share his story on camera but said he saw the car coming. “I was calling for Chief Mann for a response. He answered and complained about leg pain. I went from there.”

The chief spent months training these men for situations like this. “It was right before our face and it was our own guys. All we could do was just go into training and respond to what we would normally do,” said Abrams.

They pulled Mann from the vehicle before help could arrive. “That is just what we do. Whether it is one of us, a person, an animal. If it requires us to go to work, we are going to work, no matter what.”

He was transferred to Erlanger Medical Center, where he went under nine major surgeries in just eleven days. “Something supernatural happened. It was more powerful than we can understand,” said an inmate.

One month after the crash the Chief married the woman, he calls the love of his life. A day the two said would not be possible if not for these inmates.

“Thank you for doing your job, what you were trained to do,” said Chief Mann.

“Them guys know how I feel about them. They have my most up respect. Great group of guys. I appreciate all they did,” said Jessica Mann.

As they wait for Chief Mann to recover and return, they're ready for the next call. “Appreciate what he shared and taught us to keep a station running properly, and business wise,” said Abrams.

It is life-saving work that helps give these men hope for a better future. For that, they credit Chief Mann. “Everything is on point as of right now because chief did teach us well down here,” said Abrams.

About two years remains in Roy Abram’s sentence, one he received for robbery. He plans to start new with a job as a firefighter when he's released. A second chance at life for these men and their chief. “That was our Chief. No matter what we are going to be 100% with him just like we are with everybody else.”

Matthew Mann will remain at Siskin Hospital for the next few weeks while he works to build back his strength. The other driver in the crash was also injured. Officials with the Georgia State Patrol said the other man crossed multiple lanes of traffic. They took blood samples and are still waiting to get the results. No charges have been filed. 

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