LODDs 6/12: Firefighter Line-of-Duty Deaths

Ten U.S. firefighters died in the line of duty in April. Three volunteer firefighters and seven career firefighters died in nine separate incidents. One incident claimed the lives of two career firefighters. Six deaths were health related, three were the result of fireground operations and one was caused by a motor vehicle accident.

CAPTAIN DAVID BAILEY, 50, of the Los Angeles County, CA, Fire Department died on April 3. Bailey suffered a medical emergency and died during physical fitness activities at the department’s Camp 14 in Santa Clarita.

CAPTAIN JOHN COLBERT, 60, of the Birchwood, WI, Fire Department died on April 6. Colbert responded to the fire station to work communications during a drowning incident. While there, he became ill and went home, where he died of an apparent heart attack. Colbert was a 39-year veteran of the fire service.

CHIEF KENNY FOX, 39, of Decatur County Volunteer Fire Department Station 3 in Decaturville, TN, died on April 7. While operating at a fire at the Oak Hill Cafe on Highway 412 in Parsons, Fox was trapped inside the structure when the roof collapsed. Two other firefighters received serious injuries and were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Investigators determined the cause of the fire was arson. Fox was a 20-year veteran of the fire service.

Two members of the Philadelphia, PA, Fire Department died on April 9. LIEUTENANT ROBERT NEARY, 60, and FIREFIGHTER DANIEL SWEENEY, 25, both from Ladder Company 10, were operating at a five-alarm fire at York and Jasper streets. The fire originated in an abandoned, six-story hosiery warehouse and spread to an adjoining furniture store and several occupied homes. Neary, Sweeney and two other firefighters were in the store when the original fire building collapsed onto the store, trapping them. It took two hours to recover their bodies. Neary was a 38-year veteran of the department and Sweeney was a member for six years.

CAPTAIN JOHN C. WINKELMAN, 54, of the Huntley, IL, Fire Protection District died on April 12. Winkelman was involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision while returning home from a meeting at the dispatch center. He was a 23-year veteran of the fire service.

CHIEF JOHN E. WILKINSON JR., 44, of the Lake Dreamland Fire Department in Louisville, KY, died on April 13. A day earlier, Wilkinson responded to an outdoor fire call and suffered an apparent heart attack after returning home. Wilkinson was a 27-year veteran of the fire service.

LIEUTENANT GEORGE M. SANFORD, 67, of Redding, CT, Fire and Emergency Medical Services Company 1 died on April 15. Sanford suffered a medical emergency and died while preparing to respond to a fire call in the department’s ambulance. Sanford was a 50-year veteran of the fire service.

LIEUTENANT RICHARD A. NAPPI, 47, of the FDNY died on April 16 while operating at a three-alarm fire in a warehouse in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Nappi collapsed and was removed from the building. While being treated in an ambulance, he suffered apparent cardiac arrest. Nappi was transported to Woodhull Hospital, where he died. Nappi was a 17-year veteran of the department.

FIREFIGHTER ADAM LONGO, 31, of the Natrona County Fire Protection District in Casper, WY, died on April 18. On April 12, Longo suffered an apparent stroke while operating the department’s squad truck. Other firefighters controlled and stopped the truck and administered immediate care. Longo was transported to the hospital, where he died. He was a member of the department for one year.

Jay K. Bradish