BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Blount County Rescue Squad Assistant Chief John F. Yu, 56, died at his home Saturday.
Officials haven't confirmed what caused his death.
“Certainly everyone within our agency and the community are devastated,” said BCRS Chief Keith Sartin. “John was an integral part of the rescue community not only within our agency, but among other agencies in Knoxville and throughout the region. We’ve lost a trusted partner and a friend. This is going to be a struggle for all of us.”
Mr. Yu served on the leadership team at BCRS since 2006, most recently serving as assistant chief since 2010.
BCRS Deputy Chief Ed Wolff said, “John can best be described as a rescuer’s rescuer, a chief’s chief, a person that has touched more lives and had a positive impact on more people than could ever be counted. He is an icon in the rescue world, known for his expertise in vehicle rescue, water rescue, and special operations. He will be missed but never forgotten. I am honored to call him a friend.”
Yu was also a 29-year volunteer member of the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad, Inc. and served as Chief in 1992 - 1993 and again in 2003 - 2005. He also served as a past member of the Board of Directors and Water Rescue Team Captain.
He was instrumental in the development of the KVERS Support Team and swift water response capabilities.
"It was a great shock to learn this evening that John Yu has passed. John was a longtime friend and member of the Knoxville Rescue Squad. He was a dedicated and tireless worker in the Rescue Squad community, and spent many hours training and sharing his expertise of rescue techniques with other responders; not only to the Knoxville Rescue Squad, but to emergency responders throughout the region. When help was needed, it was common for John to be first on the scene and the last to leave," Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad Chief Bob Swabe said.
Chief Swabe also said that John touched many lives throughout the region and that he will be missed.