New Mexico Fire Chief Killed During Volunteer Response
A New Mexico fire chief died in the line of duty Thursday night when his water tanker plunged 250 feet off the side of the road while he was responding as a volunteer with another county fire department.
Ralph Dawdy worked full time as Chief of the Cotton City Fire Department in Hildago County, and also served as a volunteer firefighter with Animas Volunteer Fire and Rescue for eight years.
He was responding to the Jenny Fire in Gila National Forest, about 200 miles away, in an Animas water tanker as backup for the Forest Service, said Animas dispatcher Jared Fralie.
Another Animas firefighter was following Dawdy when the accident occurred at about 8:30 p.m. He came around the same curve in the road just in time to see Dawdy's tanker going over the edge, Fralie said. The Forest Service and the state police were investigating the accident.
"We're slowly getting through it. It's been a shock to us all," Fralie said. "It really shook the community up."
Dawdy is survived by his wife and two children; a son in college and a daughter in high school.
Fralie said Dawdy was an outgoing person who was deeply involved in all of the surrounding communities. "The entire county knew him. He will be greatly missed," he said.
Funeral and memorial information will be posted when it becomes available.
Animas Volunteer Fire and Rescue, the Cotton City Fire Department and three other fire departments work together to serve a rural ranching and farming community of 500 square miles, Fralie said. This is the department's first line of duty death.
According to the Associated Press, the Jenny Fire was caused by lightning last week and has burned about 3,500 acres 36 miles northwest of Truth or Consequences.
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Thread: New Mexico LODD
06-28-2003, 12:00 AM #1
New Mexico LODD
06-28-2003, 08:15 AM #2
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to our brother's wife and two children. May our Lord give comfort to them, at this most difficult time.
Rest in peace Ralph!Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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