A West Virginia firefighter who spent more than half his life helping others died doing just that Saturday.
Nutter Fort Firefighter/EMT-I Michael “Mikey” Garrett, 28, was trying to move a seriously injured construction worker out of harm's way when he was hit by a falling cell tower.
Members of the department in Harrison County are stunned and still struggling to cope as they deal with their first line-of-duty death.
Two workers were killed when the first cell tower collapsed while they were making repairs. They were dead by the time the firefighters arrived to the rural site.
Upon hearing an injured worker screaming in distress, Garrett decided to make a rapid extrication. Another firefighter was assigned to watch a second tower while the operation was underway.
They were dragging the worker when “the spotter yelled it was coming down. Michael took a direct hit. I dove to the left, and wasn't hurt at all. The other guy was hurt, but not too bad,” explained Lt. Stephen M. Cockrell.
“I assessed him, packaged him and we brought him over the hill. Then, he was taken to the hospital. He coded once in the ambulance and again at the hospital…”
The injured construction worker they were assisting survived, Cockrell added.
Garrett started as a junior explorer when he was 15. “So, he spent half his life dedicated to the fire company and helping people,” his friend said.
He continued to take training, and was expected to receive his paramedic certification in May.
“Not only did he help out here, but he was an instructor, and taught a lot of people around here,” Cockrell said.
The second generation firefighter is survived by his parents and siblings.
The family will receive friends from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Friday at Davis Funeral Home, Rt. 98, in Clarksburg .
At 11 a.m. Saturday, a Catholic Funeral Liturgy will be conducted at the Armory National Guard, 5 Armory Rd, Clarksburg. Interment will follow in the Greenlawn Masonic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Nutter Fort Volunteer Fire Dept. at 1415 Buchannon Pike, Nutter Fort, WV 26301 in Memory of Michael. The donations will be used for future students who plan to pursue a career in Emergency Services.
Any fire department planning to attend the funeral to RSVP to Deputy Chief Ryan Roberts 304-669-6306 or by email at pierceE73@aol.com. Be prepared to provide the number of apparatus and members that will be attending. RSVP is not necessary for the viewing times.
There will be apparatus parking available for both the viewing and the funeral. There will be a reception held at Village Square immediately following the funeral.