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Thread: Indiana Firefighter Dies from Injuries

  1. #1
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    Jan 2002

    Indiana Firefighter Dies from Injuries

    Indiana Firefighter Dies from Injuries
    Funeral Information Below

    Updated: 01-08-2007 09:03:10 AM

    Courtesy of the Chronicle-Tribune

    Courtesy of the Chronicle-Tribune/Taylor University

    Sidney Hall, a 15-year veteran of the Upland Volunteer Fire Department, died Friday afternoon, two days after being rescued from a burning home by fellow firefighters.

    Hall was sent to Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne, after falling through a floor while fighting the blaze at 7056 E. 100S.

    "The family of Upland volunteer firemen would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the fire departments, ambulance departments, Parkview Samaritan helicopter, Parkview Hospital doctors and staff who helped rescue Sid," said a news release sent Friday by the Upland Volunteer Fire Department. "Sid was a valuable member of our family and department and will be greatly missed. We ask that you continue to pray for the family and the Upland firemen."

    An autopsy to determine the exact cause of Hall's death is scheduled to be completed this morning in Fort Wayne's Northeast Indiana Forensic Center, Dr. Jon Brandenberger, Allen County coroner, said Friday.

    The fire that ultimately claimed Hall's life started in the basement of the home of Eddy Miller, a Marion firefighter.

    Friday afternoon, Miller was on his way to Parkview to visit with Hall when he heard news of his death.

    "It's definitely a terrible day for the fire departments of the county," Miller said.

    As the news of Hall's death began to spread throughout the county, fellow firefighters and friends that knew Hall from former jobs and from his participation as a volunteer firefighter and in musical groups expressed sadness about the loss of a colleague and friend.

    Marion Fire Capt. Greg Yeakle, president of Marion Professional Firefighters Union Local 676, said as far as he knows no firefighter in Grant County has died in the line of duty since at least the early 1900s. One firefighter died on the way to a run from a heart attack, he said, but other than that, he believes Hall was the first.

    "What's really sad is the guy, he's volunteering, just helping," Yeakle said. "He didn't even get paid. That just says a lot for them guys, the guys who do it and don't get paid."

    Scott Harrison, east central Indiana public relations officer with the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter Association, said Hall was a member of the organization, and he noted members of the organization were planning to attend Hall's funeral. They have been in contact with the funeral home that will be handling Hall's arrangements as well as the Upland Volunteer Fire Department.

    "Our prayers and sympathy go out to the family," Harrison said.

    Hall is survived by his wife and two children.

    State Fire Marshal Roger Johnson said it was difficult to take the loss.

    "It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life to be there today with the family as this moment approached and we knew the end was near," Johnson said Friday. "My heart just went out."

    Former co-workers at Taylor University employed in the university's buildings and grounds department where Hall worked for 20 years in the maintenance department also were taking the news hard, said Ron Sutherland, Taylor University's vice president of finance.

    "Sid Hall was a very good man, and he had a servant's heart. Many of us knew Sid and his love and compassion for (Taylor University)," Sutherland said in an e-mailed statement. " ... Many knew Sid personally and have been deeply impacted by his death. There are many tears among them right now, and I know they would value our prayers."

    Hall was also an accomplished trumpet player who participated in both the Mississinewa Valley Band and The Salvation Army's band, said Glenn Welch, bandmaster with The Salvation Army's Marion branch.

    "He was a very dedicated band member," Welch said. "They lived a half-hour away but he made sure he came to rehearsals and church every Sunday. He was a fine player."

    Welch also said Hall contributed more than just his trumpet abilities to the Marion Corps of The Salvation Army.

    "You knew he was always there, ready to help, but he wasn't going to push you over and try to take over," Welch said. "He did electrical work in The Salvation Army Corps building, and he installed spotlights in the chapel." Welch said the last time Hall played was during the band's November concert. Now, Welch is mourning not only a fine musician, but a friend.

    "There's been times you know somebody that dies and you feel sad for the family, but it seems more disconnected. But not with Sid. He was definitely a true friend," he said.

    Larry Vlaun, a clarinet player with the Mississinewa Valley Band, also was saddened to hear the news of Hall's death.

    "He always showed up to rehearsals. He never missed any, and I think that was indicative of the character he had, always willing to volunteer his time," Vlaun said. "Whether the weather was good or bad, Sid would always show up for rehearsals or the concerts themselves."

    Hall was trapped after the fire burned a hole through several stories of Miller's home.

    Marion Fire Chief Steve Gorrell said a main problem firefighters faced was that the fire began in the basement, the result of faulty wiring.

    "The worst fire a firefighter can face is a basement fire, because it burns through the floor," Gorrell said. "When they arrived, the floor was already burned out. What they do is they go in the front door, and when you open the door, that heavy black smoke comes barreling out and you immediately go to your knees. You have to be very cautious, and there are times you are right near the hole and you don't realize it."

    Gorrell also said it was possible Hall became tangled in wiring when he fell and was unable to see to pull himself out of the hole.

    "It was just a matter of pulling himself back out, but he was wrapped up in the wiring," Gorrell said. "It was an intense fire with a lot of smoke, and he couldn't see what was wrapping him up."

    One thing Gorrell did note, however, was that Hall was not injured because of bad decision-making.

    "He went through every precaution he was trained to do, but it doesn't matter. It's still a very dangerous job, and things are going to happen," Gorrell said.

    Funeral Information

    Visitation is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 12 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Rediger Chapel at Taylor University, 236 W Reade Ave, Upland, Ind.

    Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. at the Odle Gymnasium at Taylor University, 236 W Reade Ave, Upland, Ind.

    Burial will follow at Green Park Cemetery, Portland, Ind.

  2. #2
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    Indiana Firefighter Critical after Fall Through Floor

    Updated: 01-04-2007 09:37:40 AM


    An Upland firefighter was flown to Fort Wayne's Parkview Hospital after being critically injured Wednesday while trying to save another firefighter's house from flames.

    Marion Fire Chief Steve Gorrell said Sidney Hall was trapped after he fell through the floor while he and other members of the Upland Volunteer Fire Department were trying to put out a fire at 7056 E. 100N.

    Hall was listed as critical as of 8:50 p.m. Wednesday, according to an Upland fire department news release.

    Hall was the first one to enter the house, said Gary Robinson, fire service grants and risk manager with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

    Hall had taken four steps in when he fell through the hole, Robinson said Wednesday night at the fire scene while investigating the injury.

    Other firefighters rushed to get him out of the house as smoke came billowing out, shouting, "Get him out of there!" as they got him to safety.

    "He was pulled out of the fire and was unresponsive," Gorrell said.

    Gorrell said he believed Hall suffered from a combination of injuries, one of which was possibly smoke inhalation. He did not know how long Hall had been trapped.

    Seven other firefighters - six from Matthews Volunteer Fire Department and one from Center Township Volunteer Fire Department - suffered injuries trying to save him and were taken to Marion General Hospital, Robinson said.

    All but one were expected to be released from MGH on Wednesday, with the last one being kept overnight for observation, Robinson said.

    "The firefighters did a real good job," Robinson said.

    The fire was still more personal to the firefighters because the house owner is one of their own, Eddy Miller, who is a firefighter with the Marion department.

    Neither he nor Ashley Watters, who lives with him, were home when the fire started, said Watters' mother, Cinda Vermilion.

    Family members did begin to grow worried after they still could not contact Miller about an hour after the fire started. They feared he may have been inside.

    Those fears were allayed, though, when Miller's truck pulled up. He jumped out and dropped his head in his hands as his family comforted him.

    The fire was reported at 3:21 p.m. when Grant County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Sands was driving by the house when a neighbor flagged him down, asking if he had a cell phone, Sands said.

    Fred Sumpter, assistant chief of investigation for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said the fire started in the basement with bad wiring in a light socket near the ceiling.

    The fire burned the hole in the floor that Hall fell through.

    Along with Upland, Matthews and Center and Mill townships, Gas City and Van Buren also provided manpower for the original call.

    Marion dispatched themselves after they heard that a firefighter had become trapped, Gorrell said.

    "When a firefighter is trapped, we all come," he said.

    Gorrell said he was not sure how much damage the house suffered because all the departments were focused on helping to get the man out.

    The destruction to the house comes just after Miller and Watters had finished remodeling it, Vermilion said. They had gutted the upstairs, installed new floors and applied fresh paint.

    Neighbor Debbie Brubaker said she knew Miller and Watters had been putting in a lot of work to the house.

    "They've been working on it every day," she said at the scene after she had brought over some bottled water for the firefighters.

  3. #3
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    Friends Tell of Injured Indiana Firefighter's Spirit

    Updated: 01-05-2007 12:11:11 PM


    UPLAND, Ind.-- In the world of the Buildings and Grounds Department at Taylor University, maintenance workers and the grounds crew have separate domains, and it's rare the two intertwine.

    But in the 20 years Sidney Hall worked at Taylor, said maintenance supervisor Scott Bragg, that wasn't the case.

    In fact, Bragg said he remembered a time when he first started working in 1980 that the grounds crew had to fix leaking water pipes.

    "(Hall) was down there helping us dig down in the mud," Bragg said, despite the fact that Hall was a maintenance worker and thus dealt with the electrical systems. "He was down there working beside us the whole time."

    That's just the kind of person Hall is, Bragg said: always ready to help people.

    Hall, who is a volunteer firefighter for Upland, was in critical condition Thursday evening at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. He was injured Wednesday afternoon when he fell through a floor inside a house that was ablaze.

    His wife and two sons, along with several members of the Upland Volunteer Fire Department, were with him Thursday, according to a news release from the fire department.

    Hall has been a volunteer with the Upland Volunteer Fire Department since September 1991, Capt. Mike Howard said.

    He worked at Taylor from 1977 to 1997 and now works for Building Control System in Fort Wayne.

    "He's real knowledgeable," Bragg said. "I learned a lot from him. He would always answer your questions."

    And though he no longer works for Taylor, he continues to attend community appreciation dinners, said Jim Garringer, director of university relations.

    He also continues to help out at Taylor because the university uses several systems from BCS, Bragg said, and Hall regularly talks them through problems over the phone.

    "He would just bend over backward to help you out," Bragg said. "You just can't replace that."

    Plus, he still likes to help his friends from Buildings and Grounds out on home projects, Bragg said, noting that Hall helped install a patio for a mutual friend last summer.

    "We had a big cement-pouring party," Bragg said. "Sid did all the electrical work."

    Alicia Lewis, who works at Ivanhoe's and whose ex-husband is also a volunteer firefighter, said she often saw Hall at fire station functions.

    "He's a very intelligent man, very friendly," Lewis said.

    Garringer also spent time with Hall during his tenure at Taylor, and he said a prayer request was sent to all the faculty members Thursday morning.

    "He's a very giving person," Garringer said.

    Howard said the fire station does not have anything planned yet to support Hall or his family because they are all in Fort Wayne. He wants to wait to talk to them before deciding anything.

  4. #4
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    Hall, Sidney

    Age: 52
    Cause of Death: Collapse
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Asphyxiation
    Classification: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 01/03/2007
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 15:21
    Activity Type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
    Death Date: 01/05/2007
    Fixed Prop. Use: Residential

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Upland Volunteer Fire Department
    PO Box 83
    127 N. Main
    Upland , Indiana 46989-0083
    Chief: Brian Holtzleiter

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Hall was the first firefighter of a fire suppression crew through the door at a residential structure fire. He had gone approximately four feet into the structure when he fell through the floor into a well-involved basement. Hall was rescued by several fellow firefighters and transported to the hospital where he remained until he succumbed to his injuries on 01/05/2007. Cause of death was determined to be hypoxia and asphyxiation due to position.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Memorials may be made to the Sidney Hall Memorial, Scholarship Fund, in care of the Upland Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 83, Upland, IN 46989-0083

  5. #5
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    Jan 2002
    Fallen Indiana Firefighter Laid To Rest

    Updated: 01-14-2007 07:55:18 PM

    Story by

    Firefighters, friends and family gathered on Saturday to pay respects to a volunteer firefighter who died while battling a blaze Jan. 3.

    Sidney Hall died after he fell through the floor of a burning home in Upland, in Grant County. The small community remembered Hall's life and service.

    Hall had been a member of the Upland Volunteer Fire Department for 10 years. He was trapped in the basement of the burning home. Seven other firefighters were hurt as they tried to rescue him.

    "He was a very well-trained and dedicated firefighter," said Upland fire Capt. Mike Howard.

    Hall had worked at Taylor University for about 20 years. His funeral was held in the university's gymnasium.

    "It's most fitting that we pay a special tribute and honor all of his service, not only to the university but to the community," said Taylor University Provost Dr. Steve Bedi.

    The house that burned belonged to a firefighter from Marion. A faulty light fixture in the home sparked the blaze.

  6. #6
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    Coroner: Fallen Indiana Firefighter Smothered
    Funeral Information Below

    Updated: 01-10-2007 11:33:23 AM

    Courtesy of the Chronicle-Tribune

    Upland volunteer firefighter Sidney Hall died after being deprived of oxygen while trapped inside a burning house last week, the Allen County coroner announced Tuesday.

    Hall, 52, died following a Wednesday house fire at 7056 E. 100S. He fell through a floor and was trapped, perhaps for as long as 20 minutes, before being rescued. He died Thursday at Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne, where he was flown following the fire.

    Dick Alfeld, the chief investigator for the Allen County coroner's office, said the official cause of Hall's death was hypoxia and asphyxiation due to position.

    "Basically, he couldn't breathe because he had pressure on his chest," Alfeld said. "It was an accident."

    Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Division is also investigating the fire, which injured seven other firefighters.

    "We opened the inspection on Friday when we received word of the passing, and when it will be concluded is to be determined," said James Moore, director of industrial complaints at IOSHA. "Work place fatalities are required to be reported to us within eight hours, and then we do an investigation ... within our jurisdiction."

    Hall's funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Taylor University's Odle Gymnasium. After the service, a processional made up of fire departments from across the county and state will leave the university, taking Hall past the Upland Volunteer Fire Department for a last call ceremony before being taken on to Portland for burial.

    Visitation is from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at Taylor's Rediger Chapel. Hall worked at Taylor for 20 years and also graduated from the school.

    "Sid was an alumnus, and of course Sid had worked here for 20 years and he was a very well-loved part of our community, at Taylor as well as the Upland community," said Jim Garringer, director of media relations.

    Republished with permission of the Chronicle-Tribune.

    Funeral Information

    Visitation is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 12 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Rediger Chapel at Taylor University, 236 W Reade Ave, Upland, Ind.

    Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. at the Odle Gymnasium at Taylor University, 236 W Reade Ave, Upland, Ind.

    Burial will follow at Green Park Cemetery, Portland, Ind.

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