Take 5 with Martin Washburn

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By Brad Bowman

Basc Bio

Henry County High School Graduate

25 years at Safety Kleen

Pleasureville Fire Chief since 2002

Deputy Director of Emergency Management

Why did you want to be fire chief?

I was happy being a nobody, but they had elections and elected me as fire chief. For years, I had a scanner at home and I would hear them get called out on fires and I wondered why they had problems getting people together to go. I decided to join the department and help instead of just complain about it. I got into it to help people. I am a levelheaded guy. You have to be levelheaded guy to be fire chief and be able to talk to people.  I like to help out a lot in the community and I give it the best I got.

Being Deputy Director of Emergency Management and Pleasureville fire chief, how do you process life threatening situations?

I try to look at people objectively when I go to a bad accident.  I just concentrate on getting the job done. If you start thinking of them as a mother or father with kids at home it can be difficult. I responded to a bad wreck on Sulphur Road and it was a really bad accident. They flew two people out and one didn’t make it. It can be hard.  I try to grab a picture if I am coming out of a burning house for people. I asked someone during a fire if I could get something for them and they asked me to get their relative who was cremated off of the mantel. I have recovered dead pets for people, but you never know what you are going to run across.

What do you do for fun?

I have a drum set as a stress reliever in the firehouse that I play. Anyone that knows me knows I love music without a doubt. I also do some roadie work for the band Nobody’z Bizzness, which is a huge stress reliever. They are a great group of guys and I’ve met a lot of interesting people in music because of it.

Proudest moment as fire chief?

We got a grant several years ago, I think  it was about $125,000 from a  Homeland Security Grant. We finally got to update to modern equipment. We were able to go from the old days to the modern.

Most embarrassing moment?

We had a trailer fire down on Six Mile (road). It was about three in the morning and I had already driven home from Gatlinburg. So I was pretty tired to begin with I hadn’t been to bed yet.

I was driving the tanker that night. We put the fire out and everyone backs in the drive, turns out and leaves. I was the last one to leave. I backed into the drive as pretty as you had ever seen. I go to pull out and I didn’t swing it wide enough. I dropped the passenger side of the tanker off the side of the road , and it was one of those ‘Oh no!’ moments. The next thing I knew I was looking up at the moon.  I had dropped the truck off into a sinkhole. I’m looking up at the moon, the back axle was in the sinkhole. The back bumper had caught and kept the truck from flipping over.

I got on the radio to the guys and said, ‘4401 to 5501 could you all come back I am in a situation and I am afraid to move’. They called back and said, ‘Can you repeat that?’

I answered back, ‘I am in a situation and I am scared to move’. They came back and we had to dump the water out of the tank before we could move it, but before they did that they had to laugh and make fun of me for about 15 minutes.

They pulled me out, but they ask me to this day if I’ve been howling at the moon lately