Firefighter killed in Texas

From KTXS:

EASTLAND, Texas — A 21-year veteran volunteer firefighter gave his life Friday trying to halt flames that were racing toward the community of Gorman.

Greg Simmons
Greg Simmons

Gregory M. Simmons, 51, was a volunteer with the Eastland Fire Department for the past 11 years after serving for 10 years in the Sachse Fire Department before moving to Eastland. He and his wife, Carrie, managed an Eastland business and have two daughters, Kateland and Karley.

“To say we are shocked and saddened by this tragedy is a huge understatement,” said Eastland Mayor Mark Pipkin. “This loss makes us even more appreciative of the dedication of our many firemen and other emergency personnel. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Carrie and the rest of Greg’s family.”

Simmons gave his life battling one of five fires that flared in Eastland County on Friday. The fire he fought started shortly before noon near the small community of Kokomo. The fire grew rapidly and was pushed southeast by strong northwest winds toward the city of Gorman.

Gorman was ordered evacuated at 1 p.m., and by 5:30 p.m., the order was rescinded when it was clear the town was saved.

Simmons was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. by Justice of the Peace James King.

Eastland Fire Chief Phillip Arther said, “Greg was a seasoned veteran and invaluable member of the department and community, and we are all at a loss for words at this time.”

Firefighterclosecalls.com is reporting that as many as eight firefighters were trapped on the incident that resulted in the death of Mr. Simmons, but we have not seen any other similar reports of a multiple firefighter entrapment.

Our thoughts are with Mr. Simmons’ family and co-workers.

UPDATE at 2:00 p.m. MT, April 16, 2010

MyFOXDFW reported Friday night:

Eastland Fire spokesman Ron Holiday confirmed one volunteer firefighter, 51-year-old Greg Simmons, was killed while fighting a fire in the south part of Eastland County. Five other volunteer firefighters were hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries.

TFS spokeswoman Holly Huffman said (another) state forest service firefighter suffered minor injuries while battling a blaze (in Stephens County). He was trying to clear away dried vegetation with a bulldozer when he clipped a gas line. He suffered light burns and bruising as he jumped from the exploding bulldozer.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Firefighter killed in Texas”

  1. A true American hero that gave his all protecting others lives and property.

    May God bless his family and comfort them in their loss.

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  2. I am greatly saddened at the injuries and fatalities suffered over the last two weeks and offer my sincere condolences to the families, friends, and co-workers.

    Anyone in fire could see the horrible outcome coming together as the conditions worsened.

    A recently departed friend (Tim Stubbs, NPS Retired) expressed his direct concerns, but continued support for the Texas/Eastern NM situation and how preparedness, capability, and response were DECADES behind the times and needed modernization… He died at ATGS refresher training so that he could continue to serve in TX and NM.

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