NC FF dies when truck flips (with picture of truck)
Firefighter killed when fire truck overturns near McLeansville
By JIM SCHLOSSER, Staff Writer / News & Record
A firefighter from the McLeansville Fire Department was killed Monday when she lost control of the pumper truck she was driving on a non-emergency assignment.
It was the Guilford County rural fire fighting force's first loss in more than 30 years.
Cassandra Powell, who had joined the mostly-volunteer McLeansville department as a paid firefighter only five weeks before but had spent a number of years driving for other Guilford departments, was pronounced dead at the scene on Freiden Church Road about 11:07 a.m.
She left McLeansville's headquarters station after picking up equipment and was returning alone to McLeansville Station No. 27 on High Rock Road, where she is assigned as a driver.
Trooper Royce Barham said the truck left the road on the right, came back onto to the pavement and then swung out of control on opposite side of the road. The truck, fully loaded with water, hit a ditch and overturned.
The top of the truck was crushed from front to back. Rescue workers had to cut open the truck to remove Powell's body.
County Fire Marshal Charlie Porter said the last time the county fire fighting force lost a firefighter was before he came to the county 33 years ago.
Firefighters and their families
gathered at Station 7 in McLeansville
to comfort one other a few hours after the wreck.
"She had a good record," Porter said. "It's just what happens. Why it happened we may never know. Did you take her eye off the road momentarily? Did she drop something?"
Emotions were apparent at the accident. Her husband, Joe Powell, a firefighter at Station 13 with the Northeast Guilford Fire Department, was brought to the scene briefly. Another firefighter from Station 13, Jimmy Marley, removed a black firefighter's helmet from the scene and placed it in his car.
"She was a very experienced driver," Marley said. "She was one of the best.
He and others estimated that Powell was in her early 30s. They said she has children from a previous marriage. She had worked at the Colfax Fire Department before switching to McLeansville five weeks ago. She had also worked for the Summerfield Fire Department.
On her days off, she served as a volunteer at her husband's station, which is located across from Brightwood School.