Chester detective injured at fire scene

By Shawn Cunningham

Chester Police Det. Matt Wilson was injured Sunday, May 5 when the concussion from the exploding tire on a burning loader knocked him to the ground.

The Chester Fire Department and Chester Ambulance Service were called out around 5 p.m. for an equipment fire at Rhoman-Wai Farm on Green Mountain Turnpike. According to owner Roy Homan, a worker was tamping down a hay pile after taking out feed for the herd of milk cows when the loader he was using caught fire. The worker quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put out the fire, but it was not enough.

Chester Fire trucks arrived and began working on the fire when a large tire on the loader exploded. Homan said that the concrete walls of the feed bin “acted like a funnel,” focusing the concussion and knocking Wilson, who is also Chester’s new fire chief, to the ground. According to former Chief Harry Goodell, who was in charge at the scene, Wilson was standing “at the edge of the road about a football field away” from the fire. “You don’t expect it,” said Goodell, “It happened real quick and took him off his feet.”

Wilson complained of an injured arm and was taken to the Springfield Hospital by the ambulance service. Wilson sustained a concussion and had some hearing problems and was held overnight. Last Wednesday, Police Chief Rick Cloud said Wilson would be out of work for “a couple of weeks.”

With the help of a tanker from Rockingham, the Chester Fire Department set up for foam and put out the fire. Goodell said that the loader was a total loss although he did not know its value. Homan said the farm would cope with the loss. “In an operation like this, you have to have backups for everything.”

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  1. JT Dunn says:

    Get well soon Chief!