Sidney Hall, a 15-year veteran of the Upland Volunteer Fire Department, died Friday afternoon, two days after being rescued from a burning home by fellow firefighters.
Hall was sent to Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne, after falling through a floor while fighting the blaze at 7056 E. 100S.
"The family of Upland volunteer firemen would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the fire departments, ambulance departments, Parkview Samaritan helicopter, Parkview Hospital doctors and staff who helped rescue Sid," said a news release sent Friday by the Upland Volunteer Fire Department. "Sid was a valuable member of our family and department and will be greatly missed. We ask that you continue to pray for the family and the Upland firemen."
An autopsy to determine the exact cause of Hall's death is scheduled to be completed this morning in Fort Wayne's Northeast Indiana Forensic Center, Dr. Jon Brandenberger, Allen County coroner, said Friday.
The fire that ultimately claimed Hall's life started in the basement of the home of Eddy Miller, a Marion firefighter.
Friday afternoon, Miller was on his way to Parkview to visit with Hall when he heard news of his death.
"It's definitely a terrible day for the fire departments of the county," Miller said.
As the news of Hall's death began to spread throughout the county, fellow firefighters and friends that knew Hall from former jobs and from his participation as a volunteer firefighter and in musical groups expressed sadness about the loss of a colleague and friend.
Marion Fire Capt. Greg Yeakle, president of Marion Professional Firefighters Union Local 676, said as far as he knows no firefighter in Grant County has died in the line of duty since at least the early 1900s. One firefighter died on the way to a run from a heart attack, he said, but other than that, he believes Hall was the first.
"What's really sad is the guy, he's volunteering, just helping," Yeakle said. "He didn't even get paid. That just says a lot for them guys, the guys who do it and don't get paid."
Scott Harrison, east central Indiana public relations officer with the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter Association, said Hall was a member of the organization, and he noted members of the organization were planning to attend Hall's funeral. They have been in contact with the funeral home that will be handling Hall's arrangements as well as the Upland Volunteer Fire Department.
"Our prayers and sympathy go out to the family," Harrison said.
Hall is survived by his wife and two children.
State Fire Marshal Roger Johnson said it was difficult to take the loss.
"It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life to be there today with the family as this moment approached and we knew the end was near," Johnson said Friday. "My heart just went out."
Former co-workers at Taylor University employed in the university's buildings and grounds department where Hall worked for 20 years in the maintenance department also were taking the news hard, said Ron Sutherland, Taylor University's vice president of finance.
"Sid Hall was a very good man, and he had a servant's heart. Many of us knew Sid and his love and compassion for (Taylor University)," Sutherland said in an e-mailed statement. " ... Many knew Sid personally and have been deeply impacted by his death. There are many tears among them right now, and I know they would value our prayers."
Hall was also an accomplished trumpet player who participated in both the Mississinewa Valley Band and The Salvation Army's band, said Glenn Welch, bandmaster with The Salvation Army's Marion branch.
"He was a very dedicated band member," Welch said. "They lived a half-hour away but he made sure he came to rehearsals and church every Sunday. He was a fine player."
Welch also said Hall contributed more than just his trumpet abilities to the Marion Corps of The Salvation Army.