Chelsea approves proclamation, hears from fire chief on helicopter crash

Published 10:03 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – The Chelsea City Council approved a proclamation declaring April 2023 as Fair Housing Month and heard a report from Chelsea Fire Chief Joe Lee regarding the LifeSaver helicopter crash.

During the mayor’s report, Tony Picklesimer delivered a proclamation to the council declaring the month of April 2023 as Fair Housing Month.

“(I) do hereby proclaim April 2023 as Fair Housing Month in Chelsea, Alabama,” Picklesimer said. “To establish Chelsea as an inclusive community—committed to the fair housing and to promote appropriate activity by private and public entities intended to provide or advocate for equal housing opportunities for all residents and prospective residents of Chelsea.”

Representatives of the Birmingham Association of Realtors were present at the meeting and accepted the mayor’s proclamation.

“We just want to thank you for taking the time to recognize this,” Amanda Creel of the BAR said. “We decided that for Fair Housing Month that we wanted to do something really big to make sure it was front of mind that everybody deserves a home. Everybody has a right to have adequate housing.

“This year, our goal for the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act is to have 55 of our municipalities that we cover at the BAR join us, and today, I’m proud to say that you are one of the 44 that have already joined our efforts.”

During the meet, Fire Chief Lee provided a report to council regarding the LifeSaver helicopter crash that occurred on Sunday, April 2.

Lee explained that at approximately 4 p.m., the CFD was dispatched to a difficulty breathing incident off of County Road 43, and the patient was located on a bicycle trail approximately a mile and a half to two miles from the roadway.

After the patient stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest, the decision was made that the patient’s best chance for survival would be to call for a LifeSaver helicopter for transport. After several minutes of advanced life support, the patient was successfully resuscitated and regained vitals, however, when the crews arrived at the roadway, LifeSaver had not reached the scene.

A Chelsea transport was used to transport the patient to the E.R. and the call for LifeSaver was canceled.

At approximately 5:20 p.m,. Chelsea fire was dispatched along with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Cahaba Valley Fire Department on an aircraft down on County Road 43 which was the LifeSaver helicopter that was called to the original incident.

There were three victims in the wreckage with the third deceased upon arrival. One victim passed away at the E.R. and the other is in stable condition.

“One of our fire medics that works for Chelsea is also a flight medic and have worked particularly with this flight crew,” Lee said. “He was one of the first to arrive on the scene and performed his job flawlessly. I could not be prouder of our guys and how they handled the couple of hours of complete chaos that ensued last Sunday. They handled themselves and this scene with professionalism and skill that only comes through training, experience and dedication to their craft. It is an honor to have them protecting our community.”

Lee said that the members of LifeSaver 4 were friends and colleagues of Chelsea fire and their loss is extremely difficult on all of the CFD.

“I felt it was necessary to give the facts about what actually happened to the public to combat any rumors and misinformation that may be out there at this time,” Lee said. “I also would like to say that I’ve been in this business a little over 30 years. And sometimes some days are harder than others. Some days you can never forget, and Sunday was one of those for our guys. They will never forget this incident and neither will I.”

In other news the Chelsea City Council:

  • Approved a resolution to authorize the mayor to enter into an Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid Consortium Agreement
  • Awarded education grant funds to Forest Oaks Elementary School
  • Accepted a quote for new signage at the Chelsea Senior Citizen Lodge

The next Chelsea City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 18 at 6 p.m.