Clear Creek Vehicle Accident Claims One Fatality


ELLIJAY, GA – An accident on Clear Creek Road occurred Tuesday afternoon, October 17, that has claimed the life of one driver.

According to Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett, the accident was located around the area of Fendley Bridge. While Pritchett did confirm the death of one female, he tells FYN reports have not come back yet on the extent of injuries for others involved.

The one fatality was unable to be revived when emergency services arrived on scene. Specifics on her identity are currently being withheld for the family and an ongoing State Patrol Investigation.

However, FYN has confirmed one other vehicle was involved in the accident. We are also attempting to get more information at this time from the State Patrol Investigation.

Stay with us at as new updates become available.


Gilmer Prepares for Irma Fallout


ELLIJAY, GA – Gilmer County Citizens are preparing for the coming storms from Hurricane Irma. Some are stocking up on food, others on gas.

Gilmer's Hotels, such as the Comfort Inn by Wal-Mart, are reporting near full capacity with the influx of evacuees.

Gilmer’s Hotels, such as the Comfort Inn by Wal-Mart, are reporting near full capacity with the influx of evacuees.

Gilmer County Public Safety is also following suit with preparedness checks on equipment and staff readiness, according to Director Tony Pritchett. Gilmer has already seen an influx of people from the southern parts of our state as hotels are currently filling to capacity. Pritchett tells FYN that emergency services have reserves agreements and the county’s fuel truck ready in case of shortages and all emergency responders are being put on stand-by should the storm take a turn towards our county.

In fact, it is the uncertainty of the storm’s path that is what is keeping everything in Gilmer on edge. Gilmer has certain resources we could send to other parts of the state if Gilmer was not under threat. However, Pritchett said he is waiting to send out resources until he is certain that Gilmer is safe and the resources are available.

The traffic in Gilmer has actually already increased from both Georgia and Florida Evacuees fleeing the path of Hurricane Irma.

The traffic in Gilmer has actually already increased from both Georgia and Florida Evacuees fleeing the path of Hurricane Irma.

In case of that possibility, Pritchett says he is staying in direct contact with Georgia’s State Emergency Management Teams for preparedness.

Pritchett went further with FYN saying, “Folks need to make preparations to be self-sufficient for a period of 48 to 72 hours in the way of power supply, in the way of food, water, and individual needs. Obviously, if you live somewhere near a water way or a flood prone area, you need to pay very close attention because floods can absolutely come with very little notice and can be into that residence very quickly… Pay very close attention to the warnings and the things that are told across the media from Emergency Services… If we are saying you need to evacuate from flood prone area, you need to do it right then and not wait until its too late.”

More preparations are being implemented for citizens including pre-chosen shelter areas at the Gilmer County Civic Center or one of the gyms at either the high school or the middle school. Depending on the situation any of these could be utilized and citizens are advised to stay with media notifications of which shelters to go to.

While supplies aren't gone, stores like the Ingles in East Ellijay are already showing signs of both citizens and evacuees preparing for the coming storms.

While supplies aren’t gone, stores like the Ingles in East Ellijay are already showing signs of both citizens and evacuees preparing for the coming storms.

Still, others continue to prepare in their own way, testing generators and stocking up on necessities from local supermarkets. Many companies in North Georgia have already sent extra linemen and utility workers to the devastation in Texas. So, it will remain to be seen if that makes an effect on the coming storms.

Pritchett confirmed with FYN that they do expect to see a slight uptick in standard emergency calls with the influx of more people to the county, but he expects no issues with the readiness checks and extra preparations in place.


Details Confirm One Fatality in Vehicle Fire


ELLIJAY, GA – Officials have confirmed that one fatality and two injuries resulted from last week’s, August 23, vehicle fire in Highway 515.

Unfortunately, the fatality has been confirmed to be a juvenile according to Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett. The other two injuries, both female, we quickly moved to emergency rooms for care.

“It’s a very sad situation, and our heart goes out to the family,” said Pritchett.

He also told FYN that the vehicle fire is suspected to have been caused by a malfunction in the vehicle, possibly in the fuel line. He confirmed there was no other vehicle involved in the incident and it appears to have simply been an issue with the vehicle itself. However, due to the extent of the burn the vehicle withstood, the cause is officially being labeled undetermined.

With units in quick response from Fire Station 1, Pritchett tells FYN he was pleased that units arrived on scene quickly and took control of the situation in a professional manner as they redirected traffic and provided care.



Drowning Victim Found Near Cherry Log


ELLIJAY, GA – According to official reports, a visitor to Gilmer County was found near Cherry Log.

Found by the Public Safety Dive Team, the victim was unable to be resuscitated. Though no name has been released at this time, Gilmer Public Safety Director has informed FYN he was visiting from Orangeburg, South Carolina.

For the complete details of the Press Release:

On August 26, 2017 Gilmer County Fire & Rescue responded to a call at 190 Clear Lake Road, in the Boardtown Community, in reference to a report of a male possibly drowning. The male had been swinging on a rope swing out over a small lake at this location, and had went under water and did not immediately come back to the surface. Friends at the scene attempted to make contact with the male, but efforts were unsuccessful. 911 was called and rescue units arrived on scene in the remote area and immediately began search efforts on the shore to locate the male and he was not located. The Gilmer County Public Safety Dive Team then arrived on the scene and began a search of the deeper water and then located the male shortly after the dive operation began. Unfortunately he was unable to be resuscitated. The male was 29 years of age and from Orangeburg, South Carolina. He was vacationing in the area for the weekend with friends.


Gilmer Sees Eclipse Without Incident

Ellijay during the Eclipse on August 21, 2017, as seen from atop the city cemetery.

ELLIJAY, GA – While locals flocked out across the county to view the eclipse, the city itself seemed to slow to a crawl as the sky darkened.

Locals set up at Walmart to view the Eclipse in Ellijay, Ga.

Locals set up at Walmart to view the Eclipse in Ellijay, Ga.

Indeed the downtown streets were all but bare. Though citizens were crowding the River Street Tavern’s porch and other places, the roads were silent of traffic in the minutes leading up to the eclipse’s peak.

While most of those traveling continued further North, East Ellijay, and the County as a whole, did notice an uptick in traffic in the days prior to the eclipse and again Monday night as sightseers traveled home again.

While the Georgia Department of Transportation reported massive congestion on the roadways, much of that cleared before 1:00 p.m.

Locals, from L to R, Stephanie Watkins, Jessica Cochran, Jennifer Burton, and Rob Burton prepare to watch the eclipse Monday August 21, 2017.

Locals, from L to R, Stephanie Watkins, Jessica Cochran, Jennifer Burton, and Rob Burton prepare to watch the eclipse Monday August 21, 2017.

Still, locals such as the Burtons found friends to join with as they found their way onto Yukon to set up specially to see the event. Others moved to higher ground such as the area behind Wal-Mart and on top of the hill in the city cemetery.

Thankfully, another good report comes from Tony Pritchett, Director of Public Safety, who stated, “We are very pleased to say that Gilmer County as a whole, did not have any events relating to the eclipse other than heavy south bound traffic at the end of the event and into the late evening hours. We are very fortunate that this turned out to be a non impacting event on our public safety resources.”

While Gilmer moves past the eclipse, county officials all agree that they are thankful for a relatively quiet day.


Gilmer BOE Grants EMS Two Buses


ELLIJAY,GA – At their May meeting, the Gilmer Board of Education approved an agreement with the Gilmer County EMS to provide two older buses from their fleet.

Mass Casualty Bus

Gilmer EMS provided an example picture of similar Mass Casualty Buses.

The buses are to be outfitted as Mass Casualty transport vehicles according to Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett. The process will involve taking out all of the seating and replacing them with medical beds as seen in this photo. Pritchett stated they have already begun talks to receive a grant to retrofit the buses.

Each bus will house 12 beds. The capability to transport numerous patients at once will allow the service to respond to events such as the bus crash on Highway 515 where ambulances are not enough. The process is accomplished by ready made conversion kits which they are currently preparing to install. Pritchett did not state a specific time frame for the process, but has already begun discussions on where to house the buses in a central location.

However, it is not only Gilmer County that will benefit from this agreement. Until now, the closest county with a similar buses is Floyd County. Now, Gilmer may be called upon in neighboring counties, something that is common for emergency services in need, as we will soon house the two mass casualty buses with the mass casualty truck and equipment.

Beginning the process to gain a new resource for Gilmer’s emergency services, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes and Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett formally signed the agreement during the meeting.


Governor Signs House Bill 146 in Gilmer Fire Station

Nathan Deal Signing Bill 146

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal visited Fire House 1 in Gilmer County Thursday to officially sign House Bill 146 known as the “Firefigher’s Cancer Insurance Bill.”

Micah Gravley - District 67 RepresentativeJoined by several officials including Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Senator Steve Gooch, author of the bill Micah Gravley, District 67 Representative, opened the ceremony by speaking about the two year effort to bring the bill to this point. Gravley related his interactions with two firefighters, Frank Martinez and Brian Scutter, who he said were the honor of the Bill as they fought for and spoke with legislators to get the bill passed, as well as the appropriateness to have the signing in Scutter’s home station in Gilmer County. Scutter was also mentioned by Speaker Ralston who said he had made a promise to Brian that he would give all that was in him to bring this day about. Turning to face Scutter, Ralston said, “I kept my promise.”

Governor Nathan Deal, who originally vetoed last year’s Bill 216 called the new House Bill 146 an “innovative and great solution to the situation.” Deal said the Bill provides relief for firefighters by providing a different method for compensation and money for treatment and care for firefighters who contract cancers during their work. Gravley thanked the Governor for his support of, as he called it, a “better bill.”

Speaker David Ralston - House Bill 146The sentiment was echoed by Speaker Ralston who said, “We have arrived at a better solution. By requiring a local government to provide insurance to our firefighters for certain types of cancer, the firefighter can skip the process of litigating a worker’s comp claim. This will allow the firefighter to focus on getting better and recovery rather than having to worry about legal bills and depositions and hearings.”

FYN caught up with Speaker Ralston and Governor Deal to ask them to elaborate on why the bill is better, comparative to last years Bill 216. The Speaker replied saying, “This uses a Health Insurance Model as opposed to a Workman’s Comp model which means instead of having to make a claim and perhaps go through a court type process to get benefits and income, Firefighters in this case will file a claim just like health insurance.”

Governor Nathan Deal - House Bill 146Governor Deal also spoke on the insurance versus workman’s comp comparison saying it was an awkward and “adversarial way of deciding whether or not compensation is owed.” Deal went on to say the newer Bill is a much better solution “to provide insurance coverage that will define benefits and give some flexibility as to deciding the compensation that will be given to firefighters.”

More than Senators and Congressman came to see Deal sign the Bill, though. Several representatives from neighboring and local emergency services attended the event including Gilmer’s own Director of Public Safety Tony Pritchett who said the Bill “gives you a sense of protection… You can lay your head down and sleep better at night knowing that if you contract cancer because of the job, there’s some protection that will take care of you and your family.”


For more on the Signing of House Bill 146 watch the full ceremony below or find more Photos in our Album:


Rough Ridge Fire Expands


The Rough Ridge fire, located in the Cohutta Wilderness, expanded over the weekend to burn 21,533 acres as of Tuesday morning, November 15.

While Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett assures citizens there is still no immidiate threat to residents in the area, people are continuing to grow more uneasy about the lingering smoke in North Georgia. The smoke cover is part of a larger concern involving numerous small and five major fires that are pouring smoke over our region.

As authorities continue to battle the blaze, the have contained roughly 20% of the local Rough Ridge Fire, but as long as the fire keeps burning, Director Pritchett anticipates the smoke to persist for a while.

The effects of the smoke are being felt all over, one example being that the Gilmer Board of Education decided on Friday to withhold sending its younger students to the Veteran’s Day Celebration in Downtown Ellijay, instead only sending High School students from the Band and Chorus who chose to go out to participate in their contributions of music and song to the celebration. Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes stated the event was not mandatory and students who had respiratory issues, health concerns, or general concerns with the smoke cover were not penalized for electing to not attend.


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