Agencies honor memory of firefighter who died after 2008 tornado

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. – Area agencies honor the memory of a volunteer firefighter and other lives lost in a 2008 tornado outbreak.

“Altogether, the tornado was on the ground for 98 minutes, with a path length of 77 miles, affected a total of four counties over a two state area, claiming 21 lives and caused $61 million in damage.” – Redings Mill Fire Protection District

On Saturday, May 10th, 2008, a tornado touched down near the Oklahoma/Kansas state line. It was about 2.5 miles southwest of Chetopa, Kansas. It went east and into the southern portion of Picher, Oklahoma as an EF-4 tornado. There was extensive damage. Six people lost their lives.

The tornado then clipped Quapaw before a 2nd tornado appeared in parallel with the EF-4. The two tornadoes merged, according to the Redings Mill Fire Protection District. It crossed I-44 and into southwest Missouri.

It destroyed several homes and businesses near Highway 43 and Iris Road. There were 15 fatalities and 200 injuries from just west of Highway 43 to Highway 86 in Newton County. That’s according to Redings Mill Fire.

The video below is the end of special coverage on KOAM News, May 11, 2008. The video above is file video from KOAM archives looking at area damage from the May 10th tornado.

Remembering Lives Lost

The Fire Protection District posted to social media,

“One of the fatalities was Volunteer Firefighter Tyler Casey. Tyler was storm spotting on behalf of the Seneca Area Fire Protection District. He was aware of the approaching tornado and was warning citizens traveling on 43 Highway to seek shelter. Unfortunately Tyler was caught in the path of the tornado and suffered life threating injuries. He was transported to a local hospital and succumbed to his injuries on May 12th, 2008. In addition to losing a fellow firefighter, one of our firefighter’s grandmother passed away due to injuries sustained in the tornado. A current board member lost his mother and three other family members.”

Casey Tyler

After his death‚ Missouri’s Governor Matt Blunt issued a proclamation declaring May 17‚ 2008‚ Tyler Heath Casey Day.

The Seneca Area Fire Protection District today posted,

“May we NEVER forget! 14 years ago we lost a hero, a friend, BROTHER. We will forever remember your drive to learn and commitment to your community Tyler.
GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS.
John 15:13
Every year we gather at Tyler’s grave to remember him. Family, friends, and fellow firefighters are welcome to join us. Thursday May 12th at 5:30 pm at the New Salem Cemetery.”

The Newton County Central Dispatch Center posted,

“Today we remember those lost to the EF-4 tornado which tore through our area on May 10, 2008. Among those lost was Firefighter Tyler Casey who saved lives but succumbed to his own injuries on May 12th.”


>>Related: Remembering May 2003 deadly tornadoes