Firefighting

Atlanta Fire Department Mourns Deaths of Two Firefighters

Flags flew at half-staff at fire stations around the city Saturday as the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department mourned the loss of two firemen — one a newlywed, the other a father of triplets — who died within 24 hours of each other, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1qUjrVu).

Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran said the department is reeling over the deaths of Jermaine Hall and Sgt. Frank Guinn. Guinn was killed Friday in a bike accident in New Orleans while training for a triathlon. Hall died Saturday of a brain aneurysm.

The two men, described as “up-and-coming leaders of the department,” worked on the same shift, though at separate stations, and their shifts were on duty when the news came of their deaths.

“It is unusual to lose a firefighter under these circumstances, but to lose two within 24 hours that are on the same shift is pretty devastating emotionally to our members,” said Cochran.

Hall, 24, suffered the aneurysm early Friday morning, Cochran said. He was transported to Kennestone Hospital, where he died in the predawn hours of Saturday.

Hall joined the department two years ago and worked at Station 29. Cochran described him as a very charismatic young man who was trying aggressively to learn the ropes. During his last work shift, he had successfully completed the training to become an engine driver — an effort that usually takes firefighters three years or longer, Cochran said. Hall was married in October.

Guinn, 36 and a nine-year veteran of the department, worked at Station 21 as part of a special operations team that handles building collapses, high angle rescues, confined space rescues and trench collapses. He was in New Orleans training for a triathlon that was to take place this weekend when a motorist struck him and his brother-in-law as they were riding their bicycles.