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Thread: VA Firefighter Dies On Duty At 71

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    VA Firefighter Dies On Duty At 71

    VA Firefighter Dies On Duty At 71

    Firehouse.Com News

    A Virginia firefighter with a long history in the fire service died March 28 after a training session, at the age of 71.

    Firefighter Fred McNeil Johnson served the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Department for 37 years. He was still an active volunteer and did work around the station to help the younger firefighters, said Firefighter-Paramedic Tim Estes, Sr.

    Estes fondly recalled how Johnson went through Firefighter 1 training all over again just a few years ago, to see how it had changed and what it was like for the newer firefighters.

    On March 27 the members were watching a rescue video related to flash flooding, which had recently been an issue in the area, Estes said. Afterward, the firefighters were heading downstairs to evaluate their vehicles when Johnson was stricken.

    "He missed a step and started having chest pains," Estes said.

    Johnson was transported by EMS to the local hospital, where he was kept overnight. The next morning he was being transported to Holston Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Kingsport, TN when he went into cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead in the emergency room, Estes said.

    Johnson is survived by his wife, two grown children and two grandchildren ages three and six, who he loved to spend time with, Estes said.

    Johnson was a retired electrician and did woodwork as a hobby, Estes said. He had served in the U.S. Air Force and was a member of the American Legion.

    The firefighter had also been a scoutmaster with the local Boy Scouts, coached Little League baseball and Midget League football, and was a big fan of the University of Tennessee's football team.

    "He was just a very friendly, outgoing person," Estes said.

    Funeral services were conducted March 31 at Farris Funeral Chapel, followed by the burial in Forest Hills Memory Gardens, in Abingdon, VA.

    The Abingdon Fire Department has been serving the community since 1808. This is their first line of duty death in 194 years, Estes said.

    The department has 40 members and serves a population of 25,000. In addition to Johnson, who joined in August of 1965, the department has several long-standing members. The chief and assistant chief joined in 1951, and a captain joined in 1956.

    "The community really appreciates this and that's why they stay so long," Estes said.

    Johnson's family suggests that any memorial contributions be sent to the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Department, care of John McCormick, Treasurer, P.O. Box 1771, Abingdon, VA 24212 or to the Abingdon Baptist Church Building Fund, 361 W. Main St., Abingdon,VA 24210.

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Johnson, Fred McNeil

    Age: 71
    Rank: Firefighter
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 03/27/2002
    Incident Time: 20:45
    Death Date: 03/28/2002

    Cause of Death: Stress/Exertion
    Nature of Death: Heart Attack
    Emergency Duty: No
    Duty Type: Training
    Activity Type: Other
    Fixed Prop. Use:

    Fire Dept. Info: Abingdon Volunteer Fire Department
    316 Park Street
    Abingdon, Virginia 24210
    Chief: M.L. Odum

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Johnson experienced secondary chest pains and cardiac arrest during a training session.

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