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MJ fire chief nearly skinny dips to save a life

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Fire Department of Mt. Juliet Chief Jamie Luffman

Fire Department of Mt. Juliet Fire Chief Jamie Luffman saved a life Friday afternoon.

In his skivvies no less.

He stripped down to nearly nothing to save this life.

"It was a baby deer that somehow got stuck in a swimming pool, and by the time I got there she was almost a goner," Luffman said. "She'd been swimming around a long time. I know her momma was out there somewhere."

Getting "near naked" didn't phase Luffman, though he said there's no photo evidence of the rescue because, "well, again, I was down to nearly nothing, and people sure don't need to see that!"

It happened at a retired couple's home off old Lebanon Dirt Road and Luffman got the call for help from the Mt. Juliet Police Department.

"It sure was a strange one," he recalled.

"There was this sweet little old couple standing on a deck pointing at a pool," he said. "There was little Bambi, all spotted up, swimming round and round."

Seems the baby deer saw the above ground deck and decided to hop up and before she realized it, catapulted and landed in about 4 feet of water.

"They asked me how I was going to get the fawn out, and as I started stripping down to get in the water I kindly asked a woman to please go get me a towel."

The little one was noticeably scared, Luffman said.

"But when I put my hand on her back, she just rolled over onto her side and she never kicked once," he noted.

He gently guided her to the deck. By that time, a patrolman and Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter Director Dawn Ambrose had arrived.

"Dawn checked her out while I wondered how to respectfully get out the pool," Luffman said while laughing. "I work with her, and her husband. I told her, 'now don't go around telling everything you know!'"

He reckons saving a life is worth a little "exposure."

The little fawn skedaddled to the woods in a big hurry, hopefully to her mama waiting in the wings. It seemed no worse for wear, considering what could have happened.

"Well, that little one was about the size of a Great Dane, which isn't that small," Luffman said. "I was just making sure I didn't get kicked anywhere, if you know what I mean."

It was a first for this long-time emergency worker.

This fire chief said so far the fairly new department has rescued four kittens and 13 ducks.

"Now we'll add a deer to that roster," Luffman said. "It's all in a day's work."

Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at

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