Volunteer firefighter killed when high winds topple tree on his truck

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — A volunteer firefighter was killed, authorities said, when Monday’s high winds sent a tree crashing down on his truck.

Channel 2's Matt Johnson went to the firefighter's station in Fannin County, where he said everyone seemed to have a story about Stanley Henson, 47, and how he helped others.

“He was like a brother,” Fire Chief Larry Thomas said.

Thomas said Henson devoted his life to helping others as a Fannin County firefighter.

Thomas told Johnson that Henson had just worked with him to help someone in a car crash just hours before Henson died.

“He was a great man. He was always there when I needed him,” Thomas said.

The volunteer firefighter and married father was driving through Dawson County on Monday when high winds caused a tree to fall on his truck.


He was taking Highway 136 to get to his other job as a truck driver when the tree fell on his personal vehicle just after 2 p.m.

Troopers say he died at the scene.

“It was a freak accident, nothing to do to prevent it or just based on the weather and this is a rural road and there’s lots of trees on the side of the roadway,” Trooper Chris Jones with Georgia State Patrol said.

Thomas told Johnson that he is devastated after getting the call that one his firefighters had died.

Henson was just a month away from getting a promotion after his many years with the Fannin County Fire Department.

“He was willing to take that on as lieutenant at the station,” Thomas said.

His fellow firefighters vow to keep helping others just like Henson would have wanted as they prepare to rally behind the family he leaves behind.

Investigators said the ground was wet due to recent rains.

Troopers have ruled out speed being a factor and they say Henson had his seat belt on during the crash.

The high winds caused several problems across the area Monday.

Channel 2's Audrey Washington found a huge tree on Pierce Avenue in Smyrna had crashed down overnight and just narrowly missed several homes across the street.

The tree snapped and fell along the road and caused a host of issues for Mayris Tatum and her neighbors.

“We don’t have power, since right before daylight the tree fell and we don’t have power,” Tatum said.

The tree took down power lines and knocked out service to nearly 60 homes in the Smyrna area.

Washington was there when Georgia Power crews arrived and worked to remove the tree and replace the broken power pole.

Much of Pierce Avenue was blocked off while neighbors made do without power.

The wet weather is also to blame for a fallen tree on Chattahoochee Avenue near Howell Mill Road in northwest Atlanta.

The tree left a messy scene, with broken limbs and cable lines scattered along the side of the road.

No one was injured by the trees down in Smyrna or Atlanta.