Mo. Assistant Chief Killed in Crash Responding to Call

April 08--A 47-year-old assistant Fort Osage fire chief died in a single-vehicle accident late Sunday while responding to a structure fire in rural Jackson County.

Harold Hollingsworth was driving to a fire scene during a severe thunderstorm about 10 p.m. when his fire department SUV slid off the north side of the road near East Blue Mills Road and North Buckner Tarsney Road, where it struck a fence and then hit a tree, said Todd Farley, an assistant fire chief with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District.

Hollingsworth, a 16-year veteran with Fort Osage, was taken to Center Point Medical Center, where he died. The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating.

This is the first time a Fort Osage firefighter has died in the line of duty, Farley said.

Hollingsworth was married and had two sons and had served in the Missouri National Guard. The Lexington resident began his career with Fort Osage as a firefighter and paramedic. After working his way through the department ranks, Hollingsworth earned a promotion to assistant fire chief in 2010, Farley said.

"This is a tragedy for the Fort Osage Fire Protection District and to the community," Farley said. "Harold served the department and the community proudly and with a high degree of integrity. He was instrumental in the leadership of this organization."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

To reach Glenn Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to grice@kcstar.com.

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