For the third time in a month, the Crossville Fire Department put its scenario training into action. 

Friday night, a host of emergency responders went to the nursing home section of the WyndRidge facility when a transformer caused anxious moments.

“We train and train for these type of situations and all that training paid off,” said Crossville Fire Chief Chris South. “All of the agencies jumped into action, worked together and everything went flawless.”

Around 9:30 p.m., the fire department was dispatched to WyndRidge off Wayne Ave. on a report of a transformer exploding outside the facility and a smell of smoke inside the building.

The WyndRidge campus is serviced by three transformers. One of those failed, causing a loss of a portion of the facility’s electrical supply.

Ambulances, police and fire responded, and a check of the building revealed no fire. 

The smell of smoke was the result of the transformer failure and related smell of smoke being pushed into the building by the wind.

Of concern for first responders were five residents on ventilators and two others whose care requires being on oxygen.

Volunteer Energy Cooperative had a quick response, South said, but they found issues with a replacement transformer which prolonged return of service to the nursing home.

“Dr. (Mark) Fox (county medical director), WyndRidge administration and the EMS director made the joint decision to error on the side of caution and to transport the seven residents who were on ventilators or demanded oxygen to the hospital,” South said. “It was our best option to protect everyone.”

Ambulances took the seven to Cumberland Medical Center where they spent the night. WyndRidge nursing staff accompanied them to provide care during their brief stay at the hospital.

VEC crews worked into the night and around 2:30 a.m. power was restored. The fire department stood by the scene until around 2:45 a.m. 

Cumberland County Fire Department was placed on mutual aid alert, but no additional incidents occurred in the city.

“As soon as it was determined there was no fire, our units were in a position that they could respond if needed,” South said. “We felt like we needed to stay on standby and the county helped us out.”

Over the past couple of weeks, Crossville Fire Department responded to emergency incidents at Dominion off Old Jamestown Hwy. and Life Care off Justice St.


Michael Moser may be reached at

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