Carroll “Speedy” Hill
Carroll “Speedy” Hill’s interest in race track fire prevention started at Playland Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa in June of 1961, when he witnessed a car engulfed in flames, which couldn’t be put out because there were no fire extinguishers at the track. At the time, he was working for Anders Fire Equipment, and the next week, “Speedy” returned to the track with extinguishers in hand.
Over the next 40 plus years, Hill and his crew provided safety protection for a dozen race tracks in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado, and because known simply as “Speedy” because of the speed at which he would make his way to the race track to assist injured drivers and clear debris.
Hill served on the Indianapolis 500 fire safety crew for 18 years, and was eventually elevated to the rank of Assistant Fire Chief at the famed Brickyard oval. In 1981, he manned the unit that extinguished a dangerous fire in the Rick Mears pit stall, which was captured on national television.
Following the death of local driver Dwight Wrich in a firey crash at Denison Iowa in 2000, Hill put together a training course for race track fire personnel and taught the class for several years, in conjunction with the Nebraska State Fire School and the Hastings Fire Department. Hill traveled to numerous Midwestern states, telling his story of race track fire safety and training personnel on how to quickly and effectively extinguish fires associated with auto racing and racing fuels.
During his over five decades of involvement in race track fire safety, Hill and his crew have been credited with assisted numerous injured and ill race car drivers, officials and fans over the years, potentially saving the lives of many.
Always interested in upgrading his fire safety arsenal, at the time of his death in 2014, Hill was in the process of constructing a Gator four-wheeler equipped to handle both fire and medical emergencies, while allowing for quicker intervention in tighter spaces than possible when utilizing full-sized vehicles.