Off-duty Penn Township, PA, Firefighter Killed by Tree, Mourned

July 7, 2024
Paintertown Firefighter Jacob Lazar, 18, has been 'gung-ho" since joining the department four years ago, Fire Chief Brian Lee said.

The sign outside Paintertown Volunteer Fire Department reads: “Rest in peace FF Jacob Lazar. Thank you for your dedication.”

Fellow firefighters are paying tribute to one of their own.

Lazar, 18, was helping to clean up after a storm on July 4 when he was hit by a tree that fell out of an excavator bucket, according to WPXI. 

“Seven is our station number so we have the seven draped, and this is his fire gear,” said Fire Chief Brian Lee.

Lazar volunteered with the department for the last four years and recently earned the title of a trained senior firefighter.

“Right away, he was wanting to learn, wanted to do everything. He was really gung-ho and excited about being a senior fireman...unfortunately, cut short," the chief said.

Lazar was with a group of volunteers at the Trafford Sportsmen’s Club helping to clean up storm damage from last week’s tornado. 

Lee said he was stunned and shaken when he got a phone call from a neighboring chief who was at the scene

“It was devastating. He just was helping somebody out like he always does. You asked him to do anything, he helped. That’s the nature of Jacob.”

About the Author

Susan Nicol | News Editor

Susan Nicol is the news editor for She is a life member and active with the Brunswick Volunteer Ambulance & Rescue Company, Oxford Fire Company and Brunswick Vol. Fire Co. Susie has been an EMT in Maryland since 1976. Susie is vice-president of the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum. She is on the executive committee of Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. She also is part of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) Region II EMS Council. Susie is a board member of the American Trauma Society, Maryland Division. Prior to joining the Firehouse team, she was a staff writer for The Frederick News-Post, covering fire, law enforcement, court and legislative issues.