Firefighter dies on way to blaze

October 06, 2007|By DON AINES

BIGLERVILLE, Pa. - Pennsylvania State Police in Adams County have released the identity of a firefighter killed Thursday night in a two-vehicle accident while responding to a mountain fire.

Adam Cole, 24, of Biglerville, was pronounced dead at Gettysburg (Pa.) Hospital after the 8 p.m. accident on Buchanan Valley Road. John Parr, deputy chief of the Buchanan Valley Volunteer Fire Department, said Thursday that one of the company's firefighters was killed in an accident.

Cole was driving a 2005 Subaru Impreza west on Buchanan Valley Road when he lost control of the vehicle on a curve, police said. The Impreza crossed into the eastbound lane and collided with a 1997 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck driven by Charles Amick, 66, of Roaring Spring, Pa., police said.

The airbags in the Impreza deployed, but Cole was not wearing a seat belt, police said. Amick, who police said had moderate injuries, was wearing a seat belt, and the airbags in the truck also deployed, police said.


Police said Friday the accident was under investigation.

Cole was responding to a mountain fire in Michaux State Forest in Greene Township in Franklin County at the time of the accident, Parr said Thursday.

Cole was a firefighter and emergency medical technician with Buchanan Valley for the past three years, according to a statement from the company. He was in the process of being hired as a career firefighter in Washington, D.C.

"Adam's smile, personality and dedication will be missed by all the members of our department ... Our prayers go out to his family and friends," a statement issued by his department stated.

"I certainly feel for Buchanan Valley," said Jerry Houpt, chief of the Marion (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Co. "All fire departments are pretty much like a brotherhood, and a loss like this rocks your department to the core."

The risk for firefighters and other first responders begins before they reach the scene of a fire or accident, Houpt said.

"Every time an emergency call goes out and the first responders react to the call ... you put basically everybody at risk," Houpt said. A swift response is important, but drivers "have to try and make sure they are using good judgment and driving techniques," he said.

Firefighters from several companies and the state Bureau of Forestry responded to the mountain fire, Bob Monn, deputy chief of the Fayetteville (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Co., said Thursday night. He said the fire, which was called in at 5:51 p.m., burned about three acres.

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