ORFD remembers department photographer Dr. Tom Scott; services and last ride set for Saturday

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Jan. 28, 2021) – The Oak Ridge Fire Department (ORFD) lost a part of its family over the weekend. Dr. Thomas Howard Scott, known by many as Tom, passed away Saturday. He was 88.

Scott was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, but spent the last three decades in Oak Ridge serving as the fire department’s official photographer. 

In the 1970s, he moved to Oak Ridge to work on the development of the gas centrifuge process for enriching Uranium. In 1974, he joined the Oliver Springs Volunteer Fire Department and in 1990, he joined the Oak Ridge Fire Department as their official photographer. ORFD responded to a large structure fire where Scott was on scene taking pictures of the fire in progress. When then Fire Chief William “Bo” Harris saw the pictures, he decided the ORFD needed to have an on-site photographer at all incidents to document the fires for training, media, and historical preservation and he asked Tom to lead that charge.

Scott also served on the faculty of the University of Tennessee College of Engineering from 1986 to 2008. There he received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year in the Nuclear Engineering Department. He was also selected as the Outstanding Advisor in the College of Engineering and was given the Chancellors Award for Advising. Upon retirement he was designated Associate Professor Emeritus.

Scott was a member of First United Methodist Church, Oak Ridge since 1973. He served as Chairman of Trustees, on numerous committees, and ushered for 42 years, including being Head Usher for 20 years and Sunday School Greeter.

Right before moving to East Tennessee, he was designated a Lifetime Honorary member of the Aiken, South Carolina, Fire Department.

Scott also wrote a column for the Enjine! Enjine!, a quarterly journal of the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motorized Fire Apparatus in America (SPAMFAA), for 42 years. All 145 columns were typed and proofread by his patient wife, Janet. He was awarded the SPAMFAA member of the year award in 1992 and was also given The President’s Award in 2017. He has been the only member to receive both national awards.

In April 2019, the Oak Ridge Fire Station #4 was named in honor of Scott. In 2016, the Oak Ridge Firefighter’s Association named their annual ball the “Tom Scott Firefighters Ball.”

He’s known by many in the area for the Fire Museum at his home. It included three fire engines, an assortment of antique equipment, and an operating GameWell Fire Alarm system. Some of the antique pieces now live at the Fire Station #4 Training and History Room.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Oak Ridge TORCH, 152 Bus Terminal Rd., Oak Ridge, TN 37830. To leave a note for his family or to share a memory, please sign the online guest book at jacksonfuneralservices.com

Services for Scott are set for Saturday, Jan. 30.

Several local agencies will participate in a last ride on the apparatus from Jackson’s Funeral Services in Oliver Springs to the First United Methodist Church. The Oliver Springs Fire Department and the Oak Ridge Fire Department will travel with Scott’s urn down Highway 61 to the church.

His family and loved ones will receive his urn there.

Due to COVID, the service is not open to the public but it will be streamed on the First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge Facebook page.