Family recalls Mt. Juliet fire chief who carried boy to safety following tornado

Nashville Tornado

MT JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — You may remember the iconic video of the Mt. Juliet Fire Chief carrying a young boy to safety. News 2 Meteorologist Davis Nolan caught up with young Brock Maxwell, his family, and Chief Jamie Luffman one year later.

Chief Luffman said he was shuttling patients on UTVs and other vehicles when he ran into Robert Maxwell carrying Brock. “He told me he was trying to get him to his mother and I said ‘OK let me help you out. There’s some downed lines down there, and I can weave my way through them.'”

The chief continued, “He handed Brock off to me. And that’s the moment I reflect back on. It is the trust that Robert and Meagan [Brock’s mother] had in me to get Brock to safety. So, that one always kind of gets me.”

Chief Luffman said Brock was scared, “I told him to hold on tight. Which he did – very tight. But we made our way back over there, and he delivered him safely to his grandmother, and we went and turned around and got right on back to work.”

Mt. Juliet Fire Chief Jamie Luffman meets with Maxwell family one year after rescue video goes viral.

Young Brock told us what it was like that night. “I thought it was real scary because there was a tornado going on,” he added, “I mean, half of our roof was damaged. Our trees were falling down. When I found out I was getting out of this whole entire area, I felt safer.”

Brock also understood the danger that Chief Luffman was trying to help him avoid. “The wires. My Dad didn’t have the right gear on, and he had the right gear on because the wires were hot. So, Chief Luffman could get across. So, I felt a lot safer.”

Meagan recalled a strong smell of gas, “So we knew with that much gas in the air, and we knew with everything that was going on, we didn’t know what was coming next. So, our main concern was getting Brock to safety.” She said that was a big relief at the time, “Being able to give Brock off and knowing he was going to be somewhere safe.”

Robert expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped in the aftermath, “I just want to say thank you to all the folks like Chief Luffman and the people of Mt. Juliet who came out. Even through a pandemic to help us clear up our yards and clear up our houses, and put the pieces back together of our lives. We can’t thank those people enough.”

And for his bravery, Chief Luffman awarded young Brock the official coin of the Mt. Juliet Fire Department. He said he has a job waiting for him whenever he’s ready.


See how hope has overcome heartbreak across the area. News 2 brings you special reports Tennessee Stronger: A Year of Recovery all day Wednesday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.

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