Maryland Firefighter Stricken on Duty, Dies

Prince George's County fire and EMS personnel are mourning the loss of a colleague.

James "Doc" Brooks, 62, died Wednesday, Jan. 15, a week after he collapsed on duty.

"On Monday, Jan. 6, Brooks, a member of the Prince George’s Volunteer Marine Fire Rescue, was winterizing the boats and station in preparation of record low temperatures forecasted for the following day.  Shortly after midnight, while still at the Marina located in Fort Washington, he experienced difficulty breathing and called 911. 

Firefighters and paramedics arrived to find Brooks in cardiac arrest and immediately began pre-hospital care.  He was transported to a nearby medical facility and subsequently relocated to Medstar at Washington Hospital Center in critical condition," PIO Mark Brady wrote Thursday.

Brooks was surrounded by his wife, family members, and colleagues throughout his time in the hospital.  Jan Demeritt, Deputy Chief of the Volunteer Marine Fire Rescue, also maintained a constant vigil and was at his bedside when he passed.  “On behalf of the Brooks family, I want to thank everyone for their continued support during this difficult time,” said Demeritt.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor said in a statement:  “This is indeed a dark time for the Department, in particular, the Volunteer Marine Fire Rescue, as we mourn the passing of a friend and colleague.  Brooks was concerned about how the cold weather would affect the rescue boats and the barge that serves as their station.  He wanted to ensure their readiness, in the event they were called to duty.”

A memorial service with full fire department honors is currently being planned.  Arrangements will be provided as soon as they are available.