Alabama Firefighter Collapses, Dies at Scene

Jan. 9, 2009
A Morris firefighter, who died of an apparent heart attack at the scene of a vehicle crash here earlier this week, will be laid to rest Saturday.

The City of Morris lost one of its firefighters Monday when he died while responding to a fire call.

Charles David Woods, 57, of Warrior, was at the scene of a car accident when he reportedly died of a heart attack.

Woods, who was fairly new to the Morris Fire Department, had recently come on board after leaving the Cane Creek Fire Department.

Rocky Bell served with Woods at both Morris and Cane Creek. He said that Woods was a good fireman with a great attitude.

"He was a good, honest person. You couldn't find anybody better than him," said Bell. "He was good-hearted and fun to be around. He would make you laugh. I really can't see how you couldn't like him."

Bell said that Woods' sudden death has come as a blow to the Morris department.

"It's hit us really hard. This is a strainful job we have," Bell said. "Every one of the guys up here in Morris, we loved him."

Known as "Woody" to his friends and family, Woods was fairly new to firefighting. Bell said that Woods joined the Cane Creek department less than three years ago. It was his first time to serve as a volunteer fireman.

Bell, a firefighter for 17 years, said that Woods helped out at the Cane Creek department even before he joined. Woods had also served on the Cane Creek Fire Board at one time.

Both men joined the Morris department in May 2008 after leaving the Cane Creek department. At Cane Creek, there was a heated dispute between the Cane Creek Fire Department, the Cane Creek Fire Board and the Cane Creek Community Club regarding where the fire department is housed and other issues.

Bell resigned as the Cane Creek fire chief in late May and then joined the Morris fire department.

Woods was quoted in articles printed in The North Jefferson News in April as saying that he would stay active with the Cane Creek Fire Department through the controversy.

He did just that. Although 12 other volunteer firefighters walked out in April, Woods was the only firefighter who remained available for duty at the fire station even though he said he was "the least qualified."

"He was just looking after the firemen. He was looking after the community," said Bell.

Upon joining the Morris department, Bell said, Woods also served the Morris community wholeheartedly.

Ryan Alexander, Morris fire chief, was unavailable for comment.

Woods is survived by his wife Peggy Woods; children Jennifer (Jason) Merrill and Greg (Melissa) Woods; and four grandchildren.

Republished with permission of The North Jefferson News.

Funeral Arrangements

Visitation for Firefighter Woods will be held Saturday, Jan. 10 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Messmer Goodwin Funeral Home in Gardendale.

Funeral services will be held at noon.

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