First responders make the descent down a mountain carrying William Rose, a Knox County logger who was killed when he was hit by a falling limb.

While family members tearfully waited to hear word of his condition, first responders hiked up a mountain to try to save logger William Rose, 71, Monday. Despite their efforts, Rose, of Barbourville, was declared dead from blunt force trauma at 12:20 p.m.

Around 90 minutes earlier, Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting Rose had been hit by a falling limb.

“He was cutting a tree and noticed one of the branches had broke,” Ambulance Inc. Capt. David King said. “He jumped back to avoid the branch, but it fell in the opposite way. It hit him in the head and knocked him back 30 to 40 feet.”

Rose’s son, Jefferson, was working with his dad at the time and came down the mountain to call for help.

When paramedics and members of the London-Laurel County Rescue Squad arrived, they faced a steep 1-mile climb.

Paramedic Daniel Jones, Rescue Squad members Tony Brown, Carl Hacker, Ryan Rush and Bush firefighter Jason Lewis made the ascent, but, upon reaching Rose, realized there was little that could be done.

King said the blow from the limb killed him instantly.

Getting Rose down the mountain proved arduous, requiring an ATV laden with a stretcher and several more ATVs to get other first responders up the path.

“Getting there was one of the worst I’ve seen in 11 years in that it’s taken that long to get a patient,” King said.

While first responders tended to Rose, his family members, including his wife of 42 years Bertha, waited to hear if Rose was OK. Upon hearing word of his death, they hugged and wept.

Rose’s sister-in-law Troyie Smith said Rose was a great man.

“He believed in helping people,” she said. “He was kind-hearted.”

“You never went to his home unless you ate,” niece Janet Smith shared.

Troyie Smith said Rose was passionate about his job and had been a logger all his working life.

“Outside of his family and his grandchildren, logging was his life,” she said.

Troyie Smith added he also liked horses and going to flea markets.

Janet Smith agreed.

“He was a flea market fan,” she said. “He just liked to browse and find something unique.”

Rose was also known for being a loving grandfather to his nine grandchildren.

“He was extremely good,” Janet Smith said. “Grandchildren came first. They are our future.”

Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County was assisted at the scene by the London-Laurel County Rescue Squad, the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office and Bush Fire Department.

Staff writer Tara Kaprowy can be reached by e-mail at

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