Off-duty firefighter killed by falling tree

Brian Ball (Source: Bartlett Fire Department)
Brian Ball (Source: Bartlett Fire Department)

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

Memphis, TN (WMC-TV) - A 12-year veteran of the Bartlett fire Department died Monday evening, while trying to cut down a tree damaged during the storms.

Brian Ball, 34, was working to get a tree off a Cordova home in the Countrywood neighborhood.

Dennis Anderson, with Anderson Tree Service, saw the whole thing happen because he was trimming trees at the house next door.

"It sprung back," Anderson said, pointing at the tree. "By that time he fell up under it because he was just tied to the trunk."

After it happened Anderson rushed over and sawed off the part of the tree that Ball was pinned under. It took four men to pull the trunk off of Ball.

What Anderson saw before the tree fell concerned him.

"I told him let me put a safety rope in this tree because it's best to be safe than sorry," Anderson said. "I said, 'That tree is going to slingshot back.' I tried to tell him and he said he thought it would be okay. I said, 'Man, don't cut that, please don't cut that.'"

Lisa Verse lives at the home where the tree fell. She says she found Ball's company "Chipper's Tree Service" through her insurance agency.

When Verse talked with us, she thought Ball was going to make it.

"I pray that everything is well," Verse said. "He's a very very nice guy."

Verse wasn't home at the time because that's what Ball instructed.

"He said if anything goes wrong, I don't want to take the chance of someone being in the house," Verse recounted.

Ball didn't realize the real danger was outside the home.

Ball is survived by his wife and two sons, ages two and three.

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