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Thread: Polk County, Florida Firefighter/EMT Died In Ambulance Crash

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

    Polk County, Florida Firefighter/EMT Died In Ambulance Crash

    Polk County, Florida Firefighter/EMT Died In Ambulance Crash, 3 Others Injured

    IAFF Local 3531

    Firehouse.Com News

    Polk County Firefighter/EMT Ben Lang, 22, died while assisting with the transport of a patient to Winter Haven Hospital. He was located in the back of the ambulance sitting in the Captains Chair when the ambulance struck a large Pine tree, according to Mike Linkins, Deputy Chief of Operations for Polk County Fire Department.

    Lang, out of Cypress Gardens Station 8 in Winter Haven, was their first career firefighter killed in the line of duty. He joined the department in July, 2001.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2002
    EMT Killed In Ambulance Crash Near Winter Haven, Florida

    Associated Press

    WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) -- A Polk County firefighter and emergency medical technician who was working overtime was killed Monday when the ambulance he was riding in crashed into a tree.

    Benjamin Matthew Lang, a firefighter with Polk County since 2001, died at the scene of the crash on County Road 542, Polk County Fire Chief Doug Lewis said.

    Lang, 22, was riding in the back of the ambulance and helping a paramedic as they were taking a patient to Winter Haven Hospital, officials said.

    The ambulance driver lost control on a rain-slicked road and the vehicle slid into the grass, overturned and crashed into a large tree, officials said.

    The driver, the patient and the paramedic were taken to area hospitals, but their conditions weren't known late Monday. Their names were not released pending notification of family members.

    The ambulance had its emergency lights and siren on, but officials said they didn't know how fast the ambulance was going when it crashed, The Ledger of Lakeland reported.

    Lang has family in Polk County and lived in Winter Haven, the sheriff's office said. He recently assisted with Hurricane Charley relief efforts.

  3. #3
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    Lang, Benjamin

    Age: 22
    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Firefighter/EMT
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 08/23/2004
    Duty Type: Non-Fire Emergencies
    Incident Time: 17:25
    Activity Type: Riding Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 08/23/2004
    Fixed Prop. Use: N/A

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Polk County Fire Department/Cypress Gardens
    Building 250, Suite 1
    PO Box 1458
    Bartow , Florida 33830
    Chief: Douglas Lewis

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter/EMT Lang was killed while assisting with the transport of a patient to the hospital. The ambulance left the road and struck a tree. Firefighter Lang died instantly.

  4. #4
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    Polk Firefighter Remembered by His Comrades


    Courtesy of The Ledger

    "This is the last alarm for firefighter Benjamin Lang." Throughout the Church of the Nazarene's sanctuary Thursday, an emergency scanner carried a dispatcher's somber voice, remembering the Polk County firefighter who died in an ambulance crash Monday.

    With sobs audible over the scanner's alarm and static, the dispatcher's tribute proved to be one of the most emotional moments at Lang's memorial service, which drew firefighters, police officers and emergency workers from across the state.

    "He made us a better fire department," said Polk County Fire Department Chief Douglas Lewis. "He wasn't just a hero. He was our super hero."

    Lang, 22, a Polk County firefighter/EMT, was helping a paramedic attend to a patient in the back of an ambulance when it crashed into a tree off County Road 542 in Winter Haven. He is the first professional Polk County firefighter to die in the line of duty. Two volunteer firefighters died on the job in the early 1980s. Those who spoke at Lang's memorial service stressed the value of a life of service, such as his.

    "This room is full of people wishing to celebrate . . . what Ben did before he was called to eternity," said John Long, the Polk County Fire Department's chaplain, who preached at Thursday's service.

    Lang joined the Polk County Fire Department on a part-time basis soon after graduating from Lake Wales High School in 1999.

    In July 2001, he was hired as a full-time firefighter and EMT, based out of Polk County Fire Department Station 8.

    News of his death shook emergency workers throughout the county, deputy fire chief Mike Linkins said.

    "Ben's death has brought us to our knees," said Linkin, as his voice broke and he began to cry.

    Ceremony and tradition permeated Thursday's service.

    Outside the church, two fire trucks waited for the memorial procession. Their ladders were raised and leaning together, an American flag draped between them.

    Inside, mourners and flowers filled the sanctuary.

    An honor guard, made up of firefighters from across the state, marched toward Lang's coffin, saluting as it passed.

    His family was presented with a flag, along with Lang's helmet and a medal of honor.

    A trumpeter played taps. Then bagpipes resounded.

    It's how firefighters pay tribute when one of their own has fallen.

    One by one Thursday, Polk County firefighters told stories about Lang -- about how they thought he should be remembered.

    They remembered him as a big guy -- a tall and tough weightlifter. But they said his girlfriend, Ashley, who sometimes visited him at his fire station, could turn him into a softy.

    He was a big eater who could clean out an entire refrigerator without filling a trash can.

    He was a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    He did not hesitate.

  5. #5

    I will love you always!

    I will always remember the day that I lost my boyfriend, my companion, and my bestfriend, Ben. Everyone has been so supportive since the accident and I will always hold them in my heart forever. I want to thank everyone for everything. Always remember to live life to the fullest because as we have learned it can end in the blink of an eye.

    In loving memory of Benjamin Matthew Lang

    My Love Forever, Ashley

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