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Ten U.S. firefighters recently died in the line of duty. Four career firefighter and six volunteer firefighters died in nine incidents. Seven deaths were health related, one death was the result of an accident and two deaths were the result of direct fireground operations.
FIRE CHIEF JAMIE A. PEITE, 43, of the Ironwood Township, MI, Volunteer Fire Department died on March 5. On the previous day, Peite became ill while participating in pumper training at the fire station. The next morning, he suffered a heart attack. He was treated and transported to a hospital, where he died. Peite was a 10-year veteran of the fire service.
SENIOR CAPTAIN JEFFERY BAYLESS, 51, of the Anchorage, AK, Fire Department died on March 7. Bayless collapsed while training on Rules of Air Management (ROAM). Fellow firefighters began immediate treatment and he was transported to Alaska Regional Hospital, where he died. Bayless was a 19-year veteran of the fire service.
LIEUTENANT BOBBY MOLLERE, 61, of the Hellsgate Fire Department in Star Valley, AZ, died on March 8. While participating in a wildland pack test at Payson High School, Mollere collapsed. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics began immediate care and transported him to Payson Regional Medical Center, where he died. Mollere was a 15-year veteran of the fire service.
FIREFIGHTER JOSEPH EDWARD BOVE III, 53, of the Spotswood, NJ, Fire Department died on March 13. After returning home from a odor of natural gas call at a housing complex, Bove collapsed. He was transported to Old Bridge Regional Hospital, where he died. Bove was a 25-year veteran of the fire service.
CAPTAIN/EMT WAYNE O’NEAL JEFFERS, 64, of the South Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Department in Ramer, AL, died on March 16. On March 15, Jeffers responded to a motor vehicle accident. Within 24 hours of the call, Jeffers died. Jeffers was a 10-year veteran of the fire service.
ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF TOM D. STEVENS SR., 59 of the Bright Volunteer Fire Company in Lawrenceburg, IN, died on March 17. Several hours after returning home from an emergency call on March 16, Stevens suffered an apparent heart attack. He was transported to Mercy Harrison Hospital in Harrison, OH, where he died. Stevens was a 14-year veteran of the fire service.
FIREFIGHTER EDWIN J. WENTZEL, 57, of the Youngwood, PA, Volunteer Fire Department died on March 22. Wentzel was participating in a missing-person search when he was struck and killed by a train. Wentzel was a 35-year veteran of the fire service.
Two Boston, MA, Fire Department members died on March 26 at the scene of a nine-alarm fire in a multiple unit residential structure. LIEUTENANT EDWARD J. WALSH, 43, a nine-year veteran of the department, and FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL R. KENNEDY, 33, a six-year veteran of the department, died after becoming trapped in the basement of the structure due to rapid changing fire conditions.
FIRE CHIEF GEORGE UNDERWOOD, 64, of the Lake, WV, Volunteer Fire Department died on April 2. While operating at the scene of flooding conditions affecting residential structures, Underwood suffered an apparent heart attack. Immediate care was provided and he was transported to a hospital, where he died. Underwood was a 25-year veteran of the department.
—Jay K. Bradish