Cave Rescue Training For RCFR

Apr 17, 2021 at 11:35 am by WGNS

RCFR photos

(MURFREESBORO)  Warming weather along with intense cabin fever that has been impacted by a year of the pandemic has first-responders training for rescues. Rutherford County Fire Rescue has been learning new procedures in cave rescues. 

Instructors from Hamilton County Cave and Cliff Unit taught the course and provided valuable knowledge of cave rescue techniques. The practical section of the class was completed in a local cave.

Caves Everywhere

If you are new to the area, you may not realize that there are numerous caves in this limestone prevalent area. WGNS' Scott Walker takes us into a cave and shares more information. CLICK HERE  and see the cave exploration video. 

In the pre-air conditioner days, night spots, restaurants, and some family oriented caverns offered adventure getaways that offered year around temperatures around 60 degrees. 

Those establishments are gone now, and the local caves are natural, dark and often uncharted.  That makes cave rescues in Middle Tennessee more risky, because of potential hazards including darkness, water, confined spaces, and limited communications. Rutherford County Fire-Rescue's personnel are trained in multiple rescue disciplines.

Area Caves

Snail Shell Cave in Rockvale is privately owned and not open to the public. It is considered one of the nation's most biologically important caverns. It has a river running through it, and sometimes waters are so swift that people are knocked down. The water level sometimes changes rapidly, making this an extremely dangerous cave for amateurs to explore. 

Recent discoveries at the Black Cat Cave, once a 1920's speak easy near the V.A. Hospital, have unearthed history dating back to the Paleo Era of 20,000 years ago. Black Cat Cave is now owned by the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department, and it has been sealed to keep humans out and preserve the history of earlier travelers and residents in the area.  Yes, data proves that our earliest citizens were sub-terranean dwellers.

The Rutherford County Historical Society' website shows that this area is honeycombed by 129 documented caves. Several Rutherford caves served as places of refuge and concealment for Confederate forces during the Civil War. Local caves also served to conceal the production and inventories of a number of moonshine entrepreneurs during the 20th century. Refuge and concealment are common themes.

And there are many stories about underground tunnels that connected the historic Rutherford County courthouse to 200-plus year old structures in the downtown historic area.  In addition, some claim there is a pre-Civil War cavern-tunnel is from the Oaklands Plantation home to the square.

There is a large cavern behind Southeast Broad Street, the old Coca Cola plant. History reports that early Rutherford County was a popular hunting grounds for indigenous Americans. Cherokee Chief Black Fox, also named Enola, was hunting when he spotted Andrew Jackson. He reportedly jumped into the waters of what is now Black Fox lake and escaped by swimming underground and exiting at the spring behind the Discovery Center.