Local News

Community Rallies Around Injured Firefighter

Posted June 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— It's hard to go anywhere in the Carrboro fire station without seeing a "Captain Robbie" sticker. They're plastered all over the place as a reminder of Robbie Crabtree. It's just one way firefighters are letting their friend and co-worker know they care.

It's a healing process for the Carrboro fire department, just as it is for Robbie. When a Hillsborough home burned last month, Carrboro firefighter, Captain Robbie Crabtree, fell through the floor. He was severely burned. The homeowners, Jim and Betty Tingle, are charged with setting fire to their own house.

Fire Chief Rodney Murray believes there is enough evidence to carry the case forward-- enough evidence to bring a swift ending to the tragedy. But that doesn't mean forgetting Crabtree. That's why firefighters are putting the Captain Robbie stickers on their helmets and vehicles.

Firefighter Greg Tilley says it's often hard coming to work since the accident happened. But that's what he and his co-workers have to do. It's what Crabtree would want.

They have reserved a parking space for Crabtree in front of the station. There's even a hotline people can call to get the latest information on Robbie's condition.

The outpouring of support has been tremendous. That's evident in the number of letters and cards posted on the bulletin board. But none of it can take away the pain and worry the firefighters feel when one of their own is hurting.

Firefighter Bill Kitchin knows where Crabtree stands. He believes it's unlikely Crabtree will ever return to work.

At this time, Crabtree is still in the hospital recovering from more skin graft surgery he underwent Monday.