Former fire chief killed in Tuscaloosa County wreck

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A former Isabella fire chief was killed Monday afternoon in a three-vehicle crash in Tuscaloosa County.

Rickie Calfee, 59, of Maplesville was driving home from work on Alabama Highway 216 when his vehicle and two others collided eight miles east of Brookwood at 2:35 p.m. He died at the scene.

State troopers are investigating the crash.

David Conway, a fellow fire department member and church member and a friend of Calfee’s, said the community was stunned by Monday night’s news.

“He was supposed to be home in time to make a fire meeting Monday night,” Conway said. “When he didn’t show up, we called his family, and they said he had been missing for about three hours.”

The family began trying to find him and eventually found out that he had passed away in the crash.

“It was a shock for all of us,” Conway said. “We’ve lost a good man, a good Christian and a good family man.”

Calfee is survived by his wife, Judy Glenn Calfee, and two sons, Shannon Calfee and Wade Calfee. He also has four grandchildren.

Calfee is a lifetime member of the Isabella Volunteer Fire Department and a member of Mulberry Baptist Church. He worked in coalmines in Tuscaloosa. He is a 1967 graduate of Isabella High School.

During his nine-year tenure as fire chief, Calfee helped the Isabella Fire Department with a number of upgrades, which included buying a new engine, obtaining an updated tanker, equipping a brush/grass truck, doubling the number of hydrants in Isabella’s coverage area, lowering the community’s ISO rating, doubling the size of the firehouse, updating other equipment and putting the department on a computer system.

Conway said Calfee has been a tremendous family leader.

“He has kept his grandchildren when their parents had to work on his off days. He was special to his grandkids and the rest of his family,” Conway said.

No funeral arrangements have been set.