Volunteer firefighter Terri Hood died in the line of duty on Wednesday, September 15, 1999. Hood was operating in heavy smoke at a 450-acre cornfield fire when she was struck by a fire engine, receiving fatal injuries. Hood, 31, was the mother of an eight-year-old daughter, and had been a firefighter with the McCulloch Volunteer Fire Department for three years.
The intense fire occurred in farmland south of New Washington in Clark County, located in southern Indiana near Louisville, Kentucky. It was reportedly started by a backfire from an all-terrain vehicle checking the harvest. McCulloch F.D. Assistant Chief Mindy Prescott described the fire as "the worst she'd seen in ten years on the department," according to an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal.
A spokesperson for the Clark County Sheriff's Department said in the same article that Hood had been working with a New Washington fire crew to help protect a tobacco barn when conditions worsened and the crew decided to withdraw. The fire engine backed out, and a few minutes later, firefighters noticed Hood was missing.
More than 50 firefighters from numerous departments fought the fire. According to one report, no incident command was set up, and no safety officer was designated for the fire. Hood's death, the first line-of-duty death in her department's history, was being investigated by the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
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