Retired firefighter collapses during 'heated' Hawkins commission meeting

Jeff Bobo • Jun 22, 2020 at 9:46 PM

ROGERSVILLE — If you’re going to collapse during a hot summer Hawkins County County Commission meeting, Bill Killen couldn’t have picked a better time Monday evening in a courtroom full of EMS personnel and first responders.

Killen, who is a member of the County Commission’s EMS advisory committee, collapsed while waiting for an emergency radio issue to come before the county commission at Monday’s meeting. 

The meeting room in the Hawkins County Courthouse was stuffy and filled to standing-room only, with the majority of attendees there regarding the Hawkins County Board of Education’s requested $1.2 million budget amendment for artificial turf installation on both high school football fields.

Killen, who is a retired firefighter and former Church Hill alderman, told the Times News afterward that the heat was getting to him and he was feeling sick to his stomach. He said he began to leave the room when he got lightheaded and fell. 

Fortunately, he was flanked on both sides by experienced first responders and received immediate attention.

Hawkins County EMS responded to the courthouse, and Killen received oxygen and a quick checkup before declining transport to the hospital. He told the Times News later that he suffered some bruises and sprains, but he was at home Monday night and OK.

The brief illness didn’t affect his sense of humor. As he was being wheeled out of the courtroom by EMS, Killen noted that there was too much hot air in the room.

As for the issue he’d come to hear discussed, it failed to receive the required unanimous vote to be brought up as an out-of-order resolution.

The $1.2 million BOE budget amendment for the football field artificial surface was approved by a vote of 13-8. The Times News will have a more complete report on that issue in Wednesday’s edition.

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