09-06-2003, 10:15 PM #1
Mannington Mourns Death of Fire Chief
Below is a story that appeared in the Times West Virginian today... Please take a minute to pray for the family of Chief McCann and his department. They are gonna need every bit of support they can get in the days and weeks to come...
By Bill Byrd
Mannington firefighters and residents are mourning the death of Joel W. McCann, their longtime fire chief.
McCann, 63, died of injuries he received in a 5:45 p.m. Thursday traffic accident on U.S. Route 250 north near Rachel, police said.
He was one of three men killed in separate traffic accidents in Marion County on Thursday.
The other fatal accident victims were James E. Satterfield, 83, and Derrick V. Claybrook, 39, both of Fairmont. Claybrook died when a car he was a passenger in went off Manley Chapel Road about 9 p.m. and struck a tree, Marion County Sheriff Junior Slaughter said.
Satterfield, who may have been suffering from a still unidentified medical problem, died in a 2:40 p.m. accident on Locust Avenue, Fairmont Police Lt. Stephen Cain said. (See related story on this page.)
An employee of D&G Machine Co. Inc. in Mannington, McCann joined the town’s fire department in the mid-1960s, said Mannington Fire Capt. John Higgins.
McCann became chief in the mid-1980s, said Higgins. Among the 33 volunteers who make up the department now, McCann was recognized as a natural leader, Higgins said.
“He was easygoing, always trying to get along with everybody,” the captain said. “He was well trained in the fire service and he was always working with the city and with people in Charleston to get us new equipment and training.”
A unit of the fire department answered the call for help at the accident scene, near where the Rachel Road meets U.S. Route 250, he said.
John Haught, 37, of Mannington, a five-year firefighter with the department, said Friday rescuers were talking to McCann as they worked to free him from the cab of his truck. They were urging their leader to hang on, to fight for his life. Haught held McCann’s hand as the rescuers used specialized power tools to cut McCann free.
“I’ve known Joel for about 15 years. He’s been there for everybody in the department,” Haught said.
“He taught all of us how to keep our heads up and to keep fighting” on every fire or rescue call, Haught said. “There was nobody like him.”
Sheriff Slaughter said Friday that McCann was apparently trying to avoid striking a truck that had stopped in front of him. McCann was driving a D&G Machine Co. truck south on U.S. Route 250, the sheriff said.
The accident happened as a lumber truck was pulling out onto the busy highway from the Rachel Road. The lumber truck was turning to go north on U.S. Route 250 when a southbound truck in front of McCann stopped to allow the lumber truck to make the wide turn, Slaughter said.
“Joel apparently swerved to avoid the truck in front of him. In doing so, his vehicle hit the cab of the lumber truck head-on,” the sheriff said.
McCann was pinned for about 45 minutes in the cab of his truck before he could be extricated, Slaughter said.
“The load on Joel’s truck had shifted and that was part of what was pinning him inside his vehicle,” Slaughter said.
McCann apparently suffered a heart attack before he reached Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, he said. McCann was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Deputies and paramedics used a field at nearby North Marion High School as a landing zone for the medical evacuation helicopter that flew him to the hospital.
Claybrook, of 409 Diamond St., Fairmont, died at the scene of the 9 p.m. accident on Manley Chapel Road, the sheriff said.
He was riding in the front seat of a 1990 Plymouth Horizon that was being driven by Darrell Lamar Claybrook, 19, of Carolina.
Another passenger, Thomas McElroy, 25, of Cleveland, Ohio was riding in the back seat of the car. None of three men were wearing seatbelts, Slaughter said.
The younger Claybrook, believed to be related to Derrick V. Claybrook, apparently failed to maintain control of the car, the sheriff said.
The car went off the road about four-tenths of a mile east of its intersection with Koons Run Road.
“The car went off the road and into some loose gravel before striking a tree,” Slaughter said.
McElroy was taken to Fairmont General Hospital while the younger Claybrook was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, he said. The conditions of the men were not available Friday.
Story created Friday, September 05, 2003.
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