Longtime Thomas Co. deputy dies in house fire - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Longtime Thomas Co. deputy dies in house fire

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Black ribbons hang around the Thomas County Sheriff's office in memory of Walter Hadley, a former longtime Chief Deputy who served in the department for more than 30 years.

Thomas County Sheriff Carlton Powell and Hadley were good friends and neighbors.

"We had known each other for many many years. I knew his family and he knew my family. He was a little older than I and we shared workout on the farm together," says Thomas County Sheriff Carlton Powell.

Hadley died when fire swept through his home Thursday night.  Investigators believe either a stove or heater caused the fire.

"I don't believe a soul working didn't stop breathing for a moment. Our worst fear was that Chief Hadley was still inside the house. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire and we did discover that he was in the house," says Captain Steven Jones.

Powell says he'll be missed.

 "He was a salt of the earth kind of guy. He believed in living and let live. He didn't want to arrest everybody. If he could take you home and accomplish good, then that's what he did and he was really well liked and we lost a great citizen of Thomas County."

Hadley was 85 years old.  He started working with the sheriff's department in 1967 and retired in 2010.

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