Firefighter Jack Lockhart
Photo credit: IBS/WATE-TV
A Dayton volunteer firefighter for 49 years collapsed and died at the fire station while responding to a fire late Sunday afternoon.
Larry "Jack" Lockhart, 69, of Dayton, suffered a sudden cardiac death, said Armstrong County Coroner Robert Bower.
Bower said Lockhart was transported to the emergency room of ACMH Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The borough's assistant fire chief Ken Greenwald said the fire company was called out for a structure fire in Ringgold in nearby Jefferson County.
Armstrong 911 reported dispatching Dayton Fire Department at 5:39 p.m. to assist for a structure fire. Firefighters arriving at the scene discovered a gas furnace had exploded in a home.
"Jack was going to drive the tanker truck," Greenwald said. "He got in, got behind the wheel and told his son, Mike, that he had better drive, he didn't feel right. He was told to go back inside and man the radio."
"As soon as we got to the fire, there was a call that both of his sons, Mike and the company's fire chief, Barry (Lockhart), needed to return to the fire hall immediately," he said.
Lockhart was a former fire chief and president of the company and was the company's forest fire warden, according to Greenwald.
"All of the family is in the fire department," Greenwald said. "They're taking it pretty rough."
No firefighters were injured fighting the explosion and the family was able to escape unharmed. The fire was contained to the basement. Greenwald said the brick ranch home had stress damage.
"It was lifted off its foundation," he said.
A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study published last July listed sudden cardiac death as the most common cause of line-of-duty deaths among firefighters, killing about 45 every year.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the BAUER-BLY FUNERAL HOME, 125 E. Main St., Dayton, where a county wide firemen's memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Additional visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of funeral service at 11 a.m. Thursday at Dayton United Methodist Church.
Interment will be in Smicksburg Lutheran Cemetery, West Mahoning Township, Indiana County.
To send an online condolence, please visit www.bauer-bly.com. Memorial contributions may be given to Dayton United Methodist Church, 105 E. Church St., Dayton, PA 16222 or the Dayton Fire Department, Dayton.