A Missouri deputy chief died in the line of duty Wednesday after suffering a cardiac arrest at a firehouse meeting.
Deputy Chief Mark A. Parrish served the Normandy Fire Protection District in St. Louis County, Missouri for 26 years, until collapsing Wednesday at the fire station. Fellow firefighters immediately began resuscitation efforts and transported him to DePaul Hospital in St. Louis.
Capt. Tom Harwin, who worked with Parrish for 24 years, said he was off duty at the time and began his 100-mile commute to the fire station immediately after hearing about the cardiac arrest. Between the firefighters and then the hospital staff, "They worked him almost the entire time I was en route," Harwin said. "They did everything they could."
Parrish is survived by a sister and two brothers. He is best remembered by his colleagues for his dedication to service.
"He lived, breathed and ate the fire department. That was his life," Harwin said. Parrish was also extremely active in other community services, Harwin said, particularly charities for muscular dystrophy and the families of fallen firefighters and police officers.
"Every day that he was off shift duty, he was doing something else with the fire department or a charitable organization," Harwin said.
Parrish was also well known as a trainer, and taught at the county, state and federal level about new Homeland Security issues for the fire service, Harwin said.
The Normandy Fire Protection District serves 18 municipalities in an urban area bordering the city of St. Louis, and has 28 career firefighters. This is their first line of duty death since the department was established in 1949. Harwin called the shock of Parrish's death a kick in the pants.
"He was in good shape and good health. You would have thought he would be the last person for this to happen to. It's pretty devastating."
Funeral Services will be held at the Drehmond-Harrel Funeral Home, 7733 Natural Bridge Rd., Normandy, Missouri on Saturday, October 23rd at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery.
Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, October 22nd.
Offers of Honor Guard and Color Guard details should be made to Honor Guard Officer Chief Eric Kiehl at (314) 565-4101.
Offers of Apparatus detail for the procession should be made to Staging Officer Chief Vinyard at (314) 713-4814.