WILKES COUNTY, N.C. --
For McGrady Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Lane, fighting fires was a family affair.
Lane's stepson, 19-year-old Allen Matheson, followed in his father's footsteps, working his way to corporal in the department.
But it wasn't a fire that ended Matheson's life. He and three friends, who were also volunteer firefighters with MVFD, were driving on Mountain Valley Church Road Monday evening when the driver, Adam Burke, lost control of the vehicle and plowed into another vehicle.
Matheson died in the crash. Two of the passengers, Zane Faw, 19, and Allen Pruitt, 22, were seriously injured, and a family of four in the other vehicle is recovering from injuries at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers said Tuesday.
Everyone involved in the crash was wearing a seat belt, and no one in Burke's vehicle had been drinking alcohol, troopers said.
Lane said his step-son's death is hitting the department hard.
"This department is very close. This has hit everybody like a hammer. I don’t think words can really describe it," Lane told WXII's Craig Thomas.
Matheson and the others in the vehicle were close, Lane said, spending time at each other's homes playing video games or paintball.
“If one of them was on the hose line, I could look somewhere else on the hose line and find the other three," Lane said.
Lane described Matheson as always wearing a smile and ready to help those in the community.
"He was willing to help people. It wouldn’t matter if he knew you are not. It was 'What could I do for you?', and there was always a smile while he was doing it," Lane said. "It made me feel great -- it really did -- that he wanted to do this job."
"I know right now he’s in heaven helping somebody up there," Lane said.
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