Line-of-Duty Deaths, 2001

April 19: Firefighter-President Woodrow Poland, Sr., of the North River Valley Volunteer Fire Company, Rio, West Virginia, was found dead from head and neck trauma, possibly from a fall, in a fire department substation, where he had been performing maintenance work on the plumbing.

April 24: Lieutenant James Rupkey, 58, of the Troy (MI) Fire Department, collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack while participating in search and rescue training. He was wearing full turnout gear and SCBA.

May 9: Firefighter Alberto Tirado, 40, of the Passaic (NJ) Fire Department, died when be became trapped while searching for potential fire victims in a burning apartment building.

Source: National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Database, United States Fire Administration.

Line of Duty Deaths 2001

20

January 3. Member/EMT Betty King Dennis, 54, of the Fire and Rescue Assoc. Inc. of Centerville, NC, Louisburg, NC, was struck and killed by a vehicle while directing traffic at the scene of an accident.

January 4. Firefighter Gregg J. McLoughlin, 39, of the Fire Department of New York, 39, suffered a cardiac arrest at his fire station.

January 10. Firefighter W. Gilmore (Butch) Stitley III, 54,, of the Independent Hose Co./Citizens Truck Co., Frederick, Maryland, collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack while putting on turnout gear at the scene of a mulch pile fire.

January 10. Firefighter Rick Buongiorne, 48,of the Kendall (NY) Fire Department, died from injuries sustained when he was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic at the scene of an accident.

January 11. Lieutenant Andrew White, 27,of the Rocky Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Franklin, Pennsylvania, became trapped and was killed when fire conditions quickly deteriorated in a trailer house fire.

January 12. Firefighter William L. Thompson, 21,of the Hillsboro (KY) Volunteer Fire Department, was killed while operating a fire tanker in response to a grass fire. He, lost control of the vehicle, which left the roadway, struck a utility pole, and overturned.

January 13. Firefighter Donald L. Franklin, 42, of the Fire Department of New York, collapsed and died from a cause still to be determined, possibly a heart attack, while working at the scene of a burning apartment building.

January 18. Lieutenant Christopher Towne, 52,of the Detroit (MI) Fire Department, died while on duty in station quarters of a cause yet to be determined.

January 19. Driver/Operator James Henry “Big Jim” Haigler, 44,of the Sanford (NC) Fire Department, collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack within four hours of returning home after working a 24-hour shift.

January 25. Firefighter Johnny McKinley, 54, of the Pine Hill (AL) Volunteer Fire Department, collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack while working a structure fire set by an arsonist.

January 27. Firefighter Cecil Smith, 76, of the Meredith (NH) Volunteer Fire Department, died from injuries sustained in a traffic accident involving his vehicle while responding to a reported structure fire.

February 5. Firefighter Mathew Smith, 33,of the Redwood City (CA) Fire Department, suffered an apparent heart attack while on duty at the end of the physical fitness period.

February 7. Firefighter Ray Lloyd, 65,of the Marion County Fire-Rescue, Ocala, Florida, collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack while working a trailer fire.

February 17. Lieutenant Clint Talley, 27, of the Ashton (IL) Fire Protection District, was trapped and killed while fighting a fire in the basement of a ranch-style house.

February 17. Firefighter Mike McKean, 32, of the Ashton (IL) Fire Protection District, was trapped and killed while fighting a fire in the basement of a ranch-style house.

February 18. Firefighter Barry Wollman, 53, of the Eagleville Fire Department, Storrs Mansfield, Connecticut, died of an apparent heart attack while parking a vehicle in the fire station bay within minutes of returning to the station from a fire at a nearby mall.

February 19. Chief Engineer Donald L. Nester, 56, of the Amity Fire Company, Douglassville, Pennsylvania, died of injuries he sustained from a fall down a flight of stairs while working at the fire station.

February 19. Firefighter James Isberner, 60, of the Montello (WI) Fire Department, died of an apparent heart attack while assisting with a hoseline on the exterior of a residential structure on fire.

February 19. Firefighter Lloyd E. Curtis, 75, of the Vestal (NY) Fire Department collapsed from an apparent heart attack while riding inside a fire vehicle en route to an activated fire alarm at a nursing home. He died at the hospital a short time later.

February 26. Assistant Chief Dana R. Johnson, 46, of the Grantsburg (WI) Fire Association, died from injuries sustained in a wall collapse while fighting a fire at a restaurant.

March 6. Assistant Chief Chris Kobierowski, 41, of the Delta Junction City (AK) Fire Department, died of injuries sustained in a traffic accident while responding to a structure fire.

March 10. Firefighter Gerald W. Fields, 63, of the Dallas (TX) Fire Department, died of an apparent heart attack while on-duty at the fire station.

March 14. Firefighter Bret Tarver, 41, of the Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department, died of burns and smoke inhalation while working a fire inside a shopping center supermarket.

March 16. Firefighter Robert J. Winner, 54, of the Parrysville Volunteer Fire Department, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died of a heart attack while operating a pumper at a residential fire.

March 17. Captain Jay Shaffer, 47, of the Larkspur (CO) Fire Protection District, died of an apparent heart attack as he was completing the three-mile pack test for 2001 wildfire certification.

March 18. Firefighter J. David Mullaney, 36, of the Sac-Osage Fire Protection District, Osceola, Missouri, died as a result of a flashover that occurred while he was fighting a house fire.

March 18. Firefighter E. Frank Whitby, 39, of the Sac-Osage Fire Protection District, Osceola, Missouri, died as a result of a flashover that occurred while he was fighting a house fire.

March 20. Firefighter William Ellison III, 38, of the Miami Township Fire DepartmentHamilton County, Cleves, Ohio, died of burns sustained in a residential fire on March 8. He was searching for a victim reported to be trapped in the burning house when the first floor collapsed, causing him to fall into the basement.

March 20. Fire/Police Captain Arthur C. Griffiths, Sr., 65,of the Spangler Fire Department, Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania, suffered a heart attack while picking up supplies.

March 25. Firefighter Jim Heenan, 37, of the Verga (NJ) Fire and Rescue Company, died of injuries sustained while fighting a house fire on January 1, 2001. The floor collapsed beneath him while he was searching for victims.

March 31. Firefighter Nancy Roberts, 38, of the Willow Creek (CA) Volunteer Fire Department, drowned while practicing whitewater skills with another firefighter on the South River.

April 2. Firefighter Dale Simpson, 38, of the Clear Lake (IA) Volunteer Fire Department, died of an undetermined cause shortly after leaving the station, where he had stowed equipment after working in a small fire in an outdoor shed.

April 8. Firefighter Brian S. Richter, 34, of the Pottsville (AR) Volunteer Fire Department, died of injuries sustained when his privately owned vehicle overturned while en route to the fire station to answer an alarm for a structure fire.

April 8. Firefighter/Paramedic Scott Wilson, 25, of the Unionville/Center Township Volunteer Fire Department, Butler, Pennsylvania, drowned while trying to recover the trapped body of a kayaker in Slippery Rock Creek at McConnells Mill State Park.

April 8. Assistant Chief Anthony Murdick, 25, of the Unionville/Center Township Volunteer Fire Department, Butler, Pennsylvania, drowned while trying to recover the trapped body of a kayaker in Slippery Rock Creek at McConnells Mill State Park.

April 9. Pike County Firemens Federation Fire Coordinator Richard C. Canouse, 69, of the Milford (PA) Fire Department, died of an apparent heart attack on arrival of what had been reported as a possible structure fire in Milford.

April 11. Firefighter Brian Reed, 39, of West Manatee Fire and Rescue, Holmes Beach, Florida, died from injuries sustained from a fall from a 15-foot extension ladder while working on a light fixture in the apparatus bay. An investigation is underway to determine whether he lost his balance or was electrocuted.

April 19. Firefighter-President Woodrow Poland, Sr., of the North River Valley Volunteer Fire Company, Rio, West Virginia, was found dead from head and neck trauma, possibly from a fall, in a fire department substation, where he had been performing maintenance work on the plumbing.

April 24. Lieutenant James Rupkey, 58, of the Troy (MI) Fire Department, collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack while participating in search and rescue training. He was wearing full turnout gear and SCBA.

May 9. Firefighter Alberto Tirado, 40, the Passaic (NJ) Fire Department, died when be became trapped while searching for potential fire victims on the second floor of a burning apartment building.

May 14. Firefighter Willard Christoffer, 54,of the Western Springs (IL) Fire Department, died as the result of falling from an aerial ladder during a routine training exercise in a shopping center parking lot.

May 16. Captain Ritchie Eutsler, 30, of the Republic (MI) Fire Department, expired in his sleep.

May 22. Firefighter Lawrence Webb, 37, of the Newark (NJ) Fire Department, collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack while fighting a fire inside a residential structure.

June 2. Firefigthter Travis Brown, 30, of the Dearborn (MI) Fire Protection District, died after he was ejected from a tanker that left the road while en route to a mutual aid alarm.

June 15. Captain Carl Cook, 55, of the Birmingham (AL) Fire and Rescue Service, died of an apparent heart attack while completeing a physical test, which simulates tasks firefighters perform on the fire ground.

June 17. Firefighter Harry Ford, 50, of the New York City Fire Department, died when the facade of a burning building fell down on him. He was venting windows when a blast occurred inside the structure.

June 17. Firefighter Brian Fahey, 48, of the New York City Fire Department, died after becoming trapped in the basement of a burning hardware store for several hours.

June 17. Firefighter John Downing, 40, of the New York City Fire Department, died when the facade of a burning building where he had been venting windows, fell down on him.

June 18. Firefighter Jeremy Chandler, 27, of the Grant County Fire District #5 (WA), collapsed and died from an abnormal heart rhythm while operating a water tanker fighting a 20-acre brush fire.

June 20. Captain Jim Clingenpeel, 38, of the Rosehill Volunteer Fire Department (TX) died from a cause still to be determined, probable cardiac complications. While participating in a training session, which included physical activity, he complained about and fellow firefighters noticed he was not feeling well. The following day he was admitted to a hospital where he underwent bypass surgery and several days later passed away.

June 30. Fire Policeman Joe Vargason, 69, of the Maine Fire Department (NY), was struck and killed by a pickup truck while directing traffic in support of the fire departments early morning response to a vehicle fire. The driver of the truck was intoxicated.

July 10. Firefighter/EMT Cynthia Verburg, 47, of the Clayton Fire Department (OH), died as a result of blunt trauma from a 4000-lb.+ tree falling on cab of her Medic vehicle.

July 10. Pilot Doug Gilbert, 52, of the Idaho Dept. of Lands, while flying a single engine air tanker and dropping retardant on the north-central Idaho backcountry while battling a 500-acre fire, was killed when, for a cause still to be determined, the aircraft crashed.

July 10. Firefighter Devin A. Weaver, 21, of the United States Forest Service, Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests (WA)was killed when he was overcome by the Thirty Mile Fire in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA when it rapidly progressed and grew from approximately 5 acres to more than 2500 acres within 2 1/2 hours.

July 10. Firefighter Jessica L. Johnson, 19,of the United States Forest Service, Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests (WA)was killed when she was overcome by the Thirty Mile Fire in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA when it rapidly progressed and grew from approximately 5 acres to more than 2500 acres within 2 1/2 hours.

July 10. Firefighter Karen L. Fitzpatrick, 18, of the United States Forest Service, Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests (WA)was killed when she was overcome by the Thirty Mile Fire in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA when it rapidly progressed and grew from approximately 5 acres to more than 2500 acres within 2 1/2 hours.

July 10. Crew Chief Tom L. Craven, 30, of the United States Forest Service, Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests (WA)was killed when he was overcome by the Thirty Mile Fire in the Chewuch River Valley, north of Winthrop, WA when it rapidly progressed and grew from approximately 5 acres to more than 2500 acres within 2 1/2 hours.

July 12. Firefighter Jeff Chavis, 22, of the Lexington County Fire Service, Lexington, SC, received second and third degree burns to more than 50% of his body June 16th, 2001, while fighting a fire in a Lake Murray subdivision when he was caught by falling debris in a garage area of one of the two homes destroyed by the fire. Firefighter Chavis held on for a nearly a month before he finally succumbed to his injuries late Thursday afternoon, July 12th, 2001, at the Augusta Burn Center.

July 16. Lieutenant Eddie Dean Mathis, 45, of the Dallas Volunteer Fire Department, Dallas, NC, was responding to a motor vehicle/pedestrian accident on his privately owned motorcycle and while enroute was involved in a separate motor vehicle accident where he sustained fatal injuries.

July 22. Firefighter Donald Myrick, 49, of the Ludlow Fire Protection District, Ludlow, IL, was killed from injuries received when he was ejected from his privately owned vehicle that had gone off a roadway and crashed while he was responding to another single-vehicle auto accident in the early morning hours of July 22nd.

July 27. Firefighter Kirk Schafer, 36, of the North Central Fire District, Kerman, CA, was filling a new fire truck’s tanks with water from a hydrant. A nearby 300-pound pressurized tank, for reasons still to be determined, had a catastrophic failure rocketing into the air and landing on the fire truck Firefighter Schafer was servicing. Debris from the tank or the fire truck struck him in the head. He was transported to the hospital where he passed away the next day never regaining consciousness.

July 28. Firefighter Lazaro Martinez, 70, of the Fisher’s Peak Fire Protection District, Trinidad, CO, was participating in a live burn exercise in Trinidad with other members of the Fisher’s Peak Fire Department and the Trinidad Fire Department. After exiting the burn structure, Firefighter Martinez collapsed and efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. An autopsy later determined the cause of death to be a massive heart attack.

August 1. Firefighter Ralph Blackmar, 66, of the South Foster Volunteer Fire Department, Foster, RI, died from a cause still to be determined, possible heart attack, when while returning from a structure fire the fire truck he was driving left the roadway, struck a pole and rolled over.

August 10. Chief James Pelton, 58, of the Mason Fire Department, Mason, MI, was killed in a motor vehicle accident in route to a meeting.

August 13. Firefighter Ronald Kreamer, 34, of the Frontier Volunteer Fire Company, died after he collapsed (cause still to be determined) during overhaul operations at a structure fire.

August 18. Firefighter/EMT Richard Shoaf, Jr., 43, of the Swarthmore Fire and Protection Association, was responding to a medical emergency in the Borough of Swarthmore when he became ill and collapsed while at the station of an apparent heart attack.

August 19. Firefighter Robert Hazlett, 52, of Odell Fire Protection, died from injuries received when the water tender fire apparatus he was returning to the station after being serviced had the front right tire blowout causing the apparatus to leave the roadway and strike a tree head-on.

August 21. Firefighter Stephen A. Petrusik, 52, of Lansdowne (MD) Volunteer Firemen’s Association #1, reported to his station for routine duties and collapsed in his truck on the apron of the station. He was treated and transported to the hospital, where he died of a cause still to be determined (probably a heart attack).

August 27. Contract Pilots Larry Groff, 55, and Lars Stratte, 45, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Sacramento, California, were killed as a result of a collision between their air tankers.

August 28. Firefighter Michael Gorumba, 27, of the Fire Department of New York, collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack while fighting a three-alarm fire at an auto body shop.

August 29. Captain Darryl J. Dzugen, 35, of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Tampa, Florida, was participating in physical fitness activities at his station when he collapsed (cause still to be determined). He was transported to the hospital where he later died.

August 31. Crew Chief (contract) Kip Krigbaum, 45, of the U.S. Forest Service-Gallatin National Forest, Bozeman, Montana, died after a helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire near Emigrant Peak.

August 31. Pilot (contract) Rich Hernandez, 37, of the U.S. Forest Service-Gallatin National Forest, Bozeman, Montana, died after a helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire near Emigrant Peak.

August 31. Co-Pilot (contract) Santi Arovitx, 28, of the U.S. Forest Service-Gallatin National Forest, Bozeman, Montana, died after a helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire near Emigrant Peak.

September 3. Firefighter David Ray Rendek, 24, of the Bitterroot National Forest, Hamilton, Montana, was struck by a falling tree while fighting a wildfire in Bitterroot National Forest.

September 4. Chief William E. Bennett, 49, of the Kennedy (NY)Volunteer Fire Department, was killed in a motor vehicle accident while responding to an emergency call.

September 7. Lieutenant Robert Augustyn, 57, of the Cicero (IL) Fire Department, died of injuries sustained after becoming trapped under an engine being backed down a roadway.

September 8. Firefighter/Engineer Allan Marriott, 47, of the Port Townsend (WA) Fire Department, collapsed of a cardiac event while performing fireground operations and died later at the hospital

September 11. Fire Department of New York Personnel. Approximately 347 firefighters from all ranks and responsibilities were taken from us by a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Check back soon for a complete listing.

September 16. Fire Police Lieutenant Willie Barns, 66, of Country Lakes Volunteer Fire Company #1, Browns Mills, New Jersey, died of an apparent heart attack while responding in his private vehicle to work a traffic control point following a transformer fire that had disabled traffic lights.

September 25. Firefighter Clarence Kreitzer, 78, of Bowie (MD) Volunteer Fire Department Company, 19, died of an apparent heart attack while returning home in his private vehicle after working at the University of Maryland, College Park, campus, where a tornado had touched down.

September 25. Firefighter Bradley Golden, 19, of the Westmoreland Fire District-Lairdsville Fire Department, Clinton, New York, was trapped and overcome by rapid fire on the second floor of an abandoned house during a live-fire drill.

September 26. Captain Neil Woodward, 32, of the Blackman Volunteer Fire Department, Baker, Florida, collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack while en route to the hospital from his home, where he had worked with responding firefighters to extinguish a fire in the bathroom.

October 13. Captain Jay Jahnke, 40, of the Houston (TX) Fire Department, died of apparent smoke inhalation. He had been conducting search and rescue operations in a burning 40-story building and became trapped along with occupants on the fifth floor. He died later at the hospital.

October 13. Firefighter Kenneth J. Frayne, 28, of the Channahon (IL) Fire Protection District, died during dive rescue training.

October 14. Captain Bob Marsh, 78, of the Cal Nev Ari Volunteer Fire Department, Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas, Nevada, suffered a fatal heart attack while responding to a reported vehicle accident.

October 24. Firefighter Michael Elliott, 46, of the Maple Rapids (MI) Fire Department, was hit by a tree when performing storm-watch duties while the community was under a tornado warning.

October 25. Firefighter Wiliam Howzdy, 71, of the Glenn Dale Fire Association (MD), suffered a heart attack while in the line of duty.

November 2. Senior Firefighter Dennis “Denny” Dart, 62, of the Sugar Camp Volunteer Fire Department (WI), died after suffering a heart attack while at the scene of a vehicle fire.

November 9. Firefighter George F. Danielson, Jr., 78, of the Mine Hill Fire Department (NJ), was directing traffic in front of the firehouse as fire engines were returning from the scene of a chimney fire when he was struck by a private vehicle and sustained multiple injuries. He was transported to the hospital for treatment where he remained until he passed away as a result of the injuries.

November 10. Firefighter Harold Strode, 46, of the Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture Division of Forestry, was killed while working a wildland fireline when he was overcome by a firestorm in the densely wooded and steep terrain of the Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee.

November 19. Firefighter Clifford White, Jr., 21, of the Cameron Volunteer Fire Department (WV), was a passenger in a tanker enroute to a woodland fire when the apparatus left the roadway and overturned, killing him.

December 12. Firefighter Debra Sinard, 43, of the White Pine Volunteer Fire Department (TN), collapsed at home and died from cause still to be determined (possible heart attack) approximately 45 minutes after an airpack training session.

December 14. Firefighter Ralph Vance, 70, of the Elk Creek Fire Protection District (CO), died from a cause still to be determined when while responding to an emergency call of a chimney fire on the afternoon of December 14th. The water tanker he was operating left the roadway and slid down a 100-foot embankment.

December 15. Assistant Chief Darrell Thomas, 48, of the Somerton/Cocopah Fire Department (AZ) died from an apparent heart attack while filling the water tank on a fire truck.

December 24. Firefighter David Butler, 43, of the Spring Branch Volunteer Fire Department (TX), died from a heart attack while responding to a house fire alarm. The fire vehicle he was operating left the roadway several times over more than a half-mile stretch eventually coming to a rest after striking trees and rocks. Firefighter Butler was transported to the hospital in critical condition where a short time later he passed away.

Source: National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Database, United States Fire Administration.