06-17-2004, 07:03 AM #1
Florida Fire Chief dies of heart attack
Fire leader died from a heart attack
Still, doctors are running tests because it appears an infection may have weakened Christopher Alland's heart and afflicted the rest of his body.
By BRIDGET HALL GRUMET, Times Staff Writer
Published June 17, 2004
ODESSA - The official cause of death for Christopher E. Alland, assistant chief of Pasco County Fire Rescue, was a heart attack. The true culprit, however, might be a bacterial infection that weakened the walls of Alland's heart and ravaged the rest of his body.
Preliminary tests suggest bacteria caused the flulike symptoms that sent Alland, 52, to the emergency room late Monday night, said his son, John Alland.
The assistant chief started experiencing nausea, fever and chills Saturday. Breathing became increasingly difficult. By the time he went to the doctor Monday, the symptoms worsened to include numbness in the hands and feet. That numbness later turned to a tingling sensation, and then pain.
"When it went to pain, he said it's time to go to the hospital," John Alland said.
It now appears Chris Alland stopped producing white blood cells, the bloodstream's infection fighters. He suffered the fatal heart attack early Tuesday morning, a few hours after being admitted to University Community Hospital in Tampa.
Doctors still are running tests to learn more about the infection, John Alland said.
"They're trying to figure out how it happened, and why it happened, and why it wasn't detected," he said.
As assistant chief since 2000, Alland ran the day-to-day operations of Pasco County Fire Rescue, often pouring long hours into the job. He joined the county's newly created ambulance system in 1975.
He was also a captain in the Pasco County Sheriff's Office Auxiliary, assisting deputies in his off-duty hours for the past 28 years. He raised three sons with his wife, Patricia, and was an avid Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NASCAR fan.
Chief Anthony Lopinto spent much of the day Wednesday planning the funeral honors for his former right-hand man.
"For now, everybody is working on their tasks, and after the funeral is over, I'm sure there are things that will catch up with all of us," Lopinto said.
Visitation will be held Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. at Thomas B. Dobies Funeral Home, 6616 Congress St., New Port Richey. Two honor guards - one each from Pasco County Fire Rescue and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office - will flank the casket, rotating with new guards every 10 to 15 minutes.
A private service for family members will be held Friday night.
The public funeral will start at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Mitchell High School auditorium, 2323 Little Road, New Port Richey. The burial will follow at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park in Clearwater.
Alland will be buried with honors on behalf of both Pasco County Fire Rescue and the Sheriff's Office.
Members of both honor guards will fold the flag draping Alland's casket and give it to Lopinto, who will present it to Alland's widow.
Other mementos will be presented to Alland's three sons, John, David and Ken.
Bayflite medical evacuation helicopters will provide a flyover, and three honor guard members will provide a three-shotgun salute. (The 21-gun salute is reserved for personnel killed in the line of duty.)
A last call for Assistant Chief Christoper E. Alland, bunker No. 101, will go out over the emergency radio system used by sheriff's deputies and fire rescue crews. A series of bell tolls will signify that Alland is out of service.
A bugler from the Sheriff's Office will play taps.
Officials are coordinating with fire rescue crews in neighboring counties to help cover Pasco County on Saturday so more of Alland's co-workers can attend the services.
"While we can't let everybody attend, we want to let as many as we can attend," Lopinto said.
Memorial donations may be made in Alland's name to the Pasco County Fire Rescue Benevolent Association, P.O. Box 7352, Hudson, FL, 34674-7352.
06-18-2004, 12:58 PM #2
Sorry to hear of his passing. I sure hope that whatever caused this will be revealed.
I was at the ER over the weekend with very similar problems. I had a prostrate and kidney infection. I guess it could have been pretty much the same.
God Bless him, his family and the department.
REST IN PEACE BROTHER
06-18-2004, 03:57 PM #3
Thoughts and prayers to his Family & Colleagues...Steve Dude
London Fire Brigade...."Can Do"
'Irony'... It's a British thing.
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