Firefighters in Donalsonville, Georgia are mourning the loss of Firefighter Lattie F. Collins the Third, who was killed in a car crash while responding to another emergency.
Collins became a volunteer firefighter for Seminole County just three months ago and served under Chief Travis Brooks at the Donalsonville Fire Department.
"He was dependable, interested in learning, and loved to help people," Brooks said.
Collins was en route to the fire station to respond to a motor vehicle accident when he came to an intersection at a four lane highway. After he stopped he proceeded across the intersection and was struck by another vehicle, Brooks said.
Fellow firefighters arrived on the scene and discovered it was Collins when they extricated him from the wreck. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the local hospital.
Collins, 36, is survived by his wife Shelly and his seven-month-old baby daughter Hannah.
Collins was the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Donalsonville, was president of the local ministerial association, and served as chaplain for the local police and sheriffs' departments, Brooks said. He also worked on disaster relief to help flood victims in September 2002.
"He was an inspiration to all of us," Brooks said. "Wherever he was needed is where he went, whether it was another church, another denomination, or just a family in need."
Brooks said this is the first line of duty death in the department, which has eight career firefighters and works with about 14 volunteers to protect a population of 3,500 in the southwest corner of Georgia.
"He was just a good all around fella that just enjoyed life and always had a smile and always had a joke to tell," the chief said of Collins.
Funeral services will take place Saturday, January 11 at 2 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church in Donalsonville. The burial will be in Mobile, Alabama.