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Draper Battalion Chief Recovering In Hospital

Dec 28, 2018, 5:47 PM | Updated: Jan 2, 2019, 7:59 pm

DRAPER, Utah – Things seemed normal inside the Draper Fire Department today.

But the lone red pick-up truck parked in a bay is a reminder things aren’t the same.

The truck belongs to battalion chief Bart Vawdrey.

Vawdrey is still in the hospital recovering after being hit by a car Thursday night on I-15 near 14600 South.

“We miss him,” said Draper Fire Captain Spencer Perry. “Hopefully he can recover quickly.”

Vawdrey was outside his truck helping another motorist when a driver going too fast lost control and hit him.

“To hear that one of your own personnel has been struck and injured while in the line of duty is one of our greatest fears,” said Draper Fire Chief Clint Smith.

Draper fire battalion chief Bart Vawdrey

Chief Smith has been friends with Vawdrey for about 25 years.

They started together as volunteer firefighters.

“He’s one of the best you will find in the business. One of the most tactfully sound in terms of his abilities. And one who is looked to as a strong leader in the industry,” said Smith.

Vawdrey didn’t suffer a single broken bone and used his own radio to call for help.

He was taken to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray inside a helicopter.

“As someone put it last night, he is one of the toughest people you will ever find as is evidenced by the situation last night,” said Smith.

It has already been a tough year for the Draper Fire Department.

Their fire marshal, Brian Thatcher died of a heart attack earlier in the year.

Shortly after, Battalion Chief Matt Burchett was killed fighting a wildfire in California.

“For a small department and for a very young department, we’ve only been in service for a year and a half, and to have to go through what we have in that year and a half is at times very overwhelming,” said Smith.

Vawdrey’s colleagues are just happy he is going to be okay.

They hope, soon, things will get back to normal.

Vawdrey is scheduled for an MRI Friday evening.

After that, there’s a chance he will be allowed to go back home.

“We know that in time, Chief Vawdrey will be able to make a full recovery and to return to work,” said Smith. “We’re anxious for that day.”

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Draper Battalion Chief Recovering In Hospital