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Thread: South Carolina Firefighter Dies After Battling Blaze

  1. #1
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    South Carolina Firefighter Dies After Battling Blaze

    South Carolina Firefighter Dies After Battling Blaze

    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.Com News

    The assistant chief of the Pelham-Batesville Fire Department in South Carolina died of a heart attack Monday morning after fighting a fire at a mobile home.

    Thomas W. Kickler, 38, responded to the fire as a volunteer with the Laurens County Fire Department, where he had served for eight years.

    Laurens County Fire Chief Philip Hill said Kickler responded to the double-wide mobile home at 9:45 a.m. and served on the attack team to put out heavy fire in the bedroom area.

    Kickler had mentioned that he didn't feel well and thought he might be sick, but offered no other complaints.

    "When he came out he appeared to be fine," Hill said.

    Kickler went home at about 10:30 a.m. and called a friend at 11:30 a.m. The friend went to check on him that evening and found his body at about 8:30 p.m., Hill said.

    Kickler was the former director of Laurens County EMS and a former Greenville County paramedic.

    The chiefs at both his volunteer and career fire departments described him as very personable, dedicated and goal-oriented.

    "He had a goal of becoming an EMS director by 35 and he did that. His next goal was to be Chief, and he was well on his way," said Pelham-Batesville Chief Phill Jolley.

    Kickler had worked for the Pelham-Batesville department for one year.

    "Tom was a firefighter's firefighter," Jolley said. "He fit in here like he was one of us since the day we hired him."

    Jolley said Kickler was an athlete and his yearly physical showed no indication of a health problem. However, there was a history of heart trouble in his family because his father had died of a heart attack.

    Jolley said Kickler's death hit the Pelham-Batesville department especially hard because the previous firefighter in his position, Assistant Chief Tom Forrester, died in October 2000 of leukemia.

    Kickler is survived by his son Thomas, 10, and daughter Ashtyn, 13, as well as his mother and several siblings.

    He loved sports and duck hunting with his dog, but most of all he loved the fire service and EMS, Jolley said.

    "It was his life," Jolley said. "There's no question about that."

    FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS


    From SConFire.com


    The wake for Assistant Chief Thomas Kickler will be held on Thursday, May 9th from 7pm to 9pm and on Friday, May 10th from 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm at Grays Funeral Home on West Main St. (US Hwy.76) in Laurens.

    The Full Honor Funeral will be held on Saturday, May 11th at the Laurens 1st Baptist Church on West Main St. starting at 2pm.

    All Firefighters and representatives of Fire Departments are asked to wear dress uniforms with mourning bands on their individual badges.

    For directions, visit SConFire.com


    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2002/sc_may8.html

  2. #2
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    Firefighter with ties to Laurens, Greenville's Eastside dies after fire

    Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002 - 12:19 pm

    Firefighter with ties to Laurens, Greenville's Eastside dies after fire

    By Andy Paras
    STAFF WRITER
    aparas@greenvillenews.com

    The assistant chief of the Pelham-Batesville Fire Department died of a heart attack shortly after battling a fire as a volunteer in Laurens County, authorities said.

    Thomas W. Kickler, 38, of 13 Simmons St. in Laurens died at his home of a massive heart attack at about 11:15 a.m. Monday, according to Laurens County Coroner F.G. "Nick" Nichols.

    Nichols said Kickler, the former director of Laurens County EMS and a former Greenville County paramedic, was a diabetic and had a large heart.

    Pelham-Batesville Fire Chief Phill Jolley said Kickler had called in sick Monday but when he had heard about a fire around the corner from his home he went anyway.

    Laurens County Fire Chief Philip Hill said Kickler helped fight the fire at a double wide-mobile home at about 9:45 a.m.

    Officials said Kickler went home between 10:30 and 11 a.m. Nichols said he called his girlfriend at 11 a.m. She found his body at about 8 p.m. Nichols said.

    First Responders from Laurens County, who Kickler knew from several years as a volunteer there, answered the call, Hill said. "It's a shock to us all," he said. "It's very hard to understand and very hard to believe."

    Kickler served as a paramedic at Greenville County EMS from 1989 to 1992, Jolley said. He spent eight years as director of Laurens County EMS before resigning to take the job as assistant fire chief at Pelham-Batesville, Jolley said.

    "He had not been here but a year but he fit in like a hand in a glove," Jolley said. "It's a tremendous loss. You can't describe it."

    Kickler was the father of a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son, Jolley said.


    http://greenvilleonline.com/news/200...2050823143.htm

  3. #3
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    Kickler, Thomas W.

    Age: 38
    Rank: Firefighter
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 05/06/2002
    Incident Time: 09:44
    Death Date: 05/06/2002

    Cause of Death: Stress/Exertion
    Nature of Death: Heart Attack
    Emergency Duty:
    Duty Type:
    Activity Type: Other
    Fixed Prop. Use: Residential

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Laurens County Fire Department
    94 Ranch Road
    Laurens, South Carolina 29360
    Chief: Philip Hill

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Kickler, who also served as Assistant Chief with the Pelham-Batesville Fire Department (Career), died at his home of a massive heart attack a short time after working a doublewide mobile home fire as a volunteer firefighter with the Laurens County FD. While on the fireground, Kickler mentioned that he didn't feel well and thought he might be sick. Funeral: Saturday, May 11, 2002 at 2:00 P.M. at the First Baptist Church in Laurens, South Carolina; Memorial Fund: National Fallen Firefighters' Foundation, P.O. Drawer 498, Emmitsburg, MD 21727; e-mail firehero@erols.com; (301) 447-1365 fax (301)447-1645


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1279

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