Sharon Springs, New York State Firefighter Collapses While Battling House Fire

SHARON SPRINGS -- A firefighter died after apparently collapsing while battling a house fire that was ignited by lightning, authorities said.

Jeffrey W. Howell, 42, a member of the Sharon Springs Fire Department, was one of the first firefighters at the scene of a farmhouse that caught fire just after 5 p.m. Thursday. He was working outside the house and suffered heat exhaustion when he collapsed, authorities said.

Lightning that struck the house at 503 Gilberts Corners Road came from a series of thunderstorms that rolled through the region late Thursday afternoon, causing flooding and other damage.

Howell previously was a firefighter at the Carlisle Fire Department.

Howell's visitation was held from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday in Cobleskill. The funeral was held today at 10 a.m. at the Zion Lutheran Church in Seward.