Thomas W. Carr Jr., 59, who spent more than 30 years with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, including four years as chief of the department, died April 24 at his home in Charleston, S.C.
He had complications related to multiple system atrophy, a neurological disorder similar to Parkinson’s disease. His death was announced in a county government news release.
Mr. Carr became a volunteer paramedic with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in 1973 and was hired as a Mongtomery firefighter and paramedic in 1977.
He worked his way through the ranks to become fire chief in 2004. Mr. Carr was known for his skill at rescue operations in fires and after accidents. In a statement, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett credited Mr. Carr with developing a countywide urban search-and-rescue team and for being a national leader in th field.
Mr. Carr traveled to the Soviet Union in 1988 to assist with rescue operations after an earthquake, and he responded to hurricanes and other natural disasters in the United States.
In 1995, he helped direct search-and-rescue teams after the bombing of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, an attack that killed 168 people.
“It’s one thing to try to deal with a natural disaster,” Mr. Carr told The Washington Post at the time. “But this is a disaster caused purposely by human beings, and that’s something you’re just not emotionally prepared to deal with.”
He left Montgomery in 2008 to become chief of the Charleston Fire Department in South Carolina. He retired in March 2012.
Thomas West Carr Jr. was born in Charleston. He moved to the Washington area as a child and graduated in 1972 from the old Harker Preparatory School in Potomac.
Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Anne Bryson Vincent Carr of Charleston; two children, Thomas W. Carr III and Amy Carr, both of Charleston; and his parents, Thomas W. Carr Sr. and Haskell Grimball Carr, both of Sullivan’s Island, S.C.
— Bart Barnes