Walter Roscoe Flanagan
(27 Nov 1900 - Nov 1967)

Walter Roscoe Flanagan - ca 1932

We know that Uncle Walt began working for the Knoxville Fire Department in 1924 and was dismissed on June 1932. On 2 February 1928, Walt was working at the Park City Station. A fire alarm went off and Fire Chief Ben Suddarth jumped into the chief's red Studebaker to respond to the alarm for a "$10 fire" at 1018 Chipman Street. Walt, who failed to swing onto the chemical truck, jumped into the car with Suddarth. The chief's car was traveling down Winona Street at a high rate of speed, when it met with Firetruck #6 from the Park City Station. City Fireman Fred. M. 'Jack' Sexton was killed and 6 firemen, including Walt, were injured. Walt was admitted to Fort Sanders Hospital with shock and injuries to his chest, back and hip. The newspaper report stated that Walt and Suddarth owed their life to the steel top of the roadster. They were taken from the car only by cutting the top off.

It should be mentioned that Walt liked to 'tip the bottle'. He was evidently arrested several several times for this misconduct.

One interesting tale of good sportsmanship was told in one of the Knoxville newspapers in an article on 30 March 1937. "Walt Flanagan, just back from 9 months in the state prison at Nashville, met with Assistant Attorney General Bill Burton, who prosecuted him and sent him there. The incident occurred on Market Street near Church Avenue.

"How'y're Gen'l?" asked Walt, grinning and extending his hand.

"OK, Walt! Glad to see you back." Then they talked on this and that. ...

Bill said, "You know, I had nothing against you personally. Just doing my duty and you were guilty."

"Best thing that ever happened to me", said Walt, "worth $1000. I had been drunk for four years. Now I've been sober nine months. If anyone stays sober nine months, he can keep on staying sober...

I'm straightening up now. I'm getting a job and going to be like my old self a long time ago."

--Phil Flanagan