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Former Clark County Fire Department chief remembered

Reported by: Tom Hawley
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Updated: 11/28/2012 9:39 am
The chief of the Clark County Fire Department during the valley's three greatest emergencies has passed away. Tom Hawley joins us with a look at the life of Roy Parrish.

Roy Parrish was at the top spot for 13 years which is longer than any other chief in Clark County Fire Department history.

This included some spectacular and tragic events. Even as a rookie, Parrish was called out to one of the fires that defined the course of the Las Vegas strip as he told News 3 in 1985.

"As we rolled up to it, I couldn't believe what i was seeing," Parrish said. "Of course that was the first large fire that I had ever witnessed."

That was the El Rancho Vegas, which burned down in 1960.

Later as chief in 1988, he dealt with the Pepcon explosion in Henderson which killed two and rocked the valley.

He was also at the helm in 1981, when a fire at the Las Vegas Hilton broke out.

"It busted out the window on the eighth floor elevator lobby and started lapping floor to floor, breaking windows as it went up," Parrish said.

Two months earlier, the darkest day in valley history was the MGM fire that took 85 lives where Parrish presided over not just his own crews, but an army of volunteers.

"Without their help, we could have had a much worse tragedy than which we have," Parrish said.

Parrish's greatest legacy may be new codes passed after the MGM and Hilton fires, making Las Vegas hotels among the safest in the world.

Parrish will be laid to rest tomorrow at Palm Mortuary at Warm Springs and Eastern at 11 a.m.

County flags will be at half staff tomorrow to note his passing.

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