Tragic train station crash, heart attack kills 2 firefighters


Authorities blamed a heart attack and a two-story fall for the deaths of firefighters in North Carolina and Delaware.

The two tragedies bring the number of firefighters killed on duty so far in 2021 to 25, according to the US Fire Administration.

John Michael Pridemore

Clayton Fire Company chief John Pridemore was using a scissor lift to clear a new section of his Delaware station around 6:40 p.m. on March 7 when someone pressed the button to open the automatic garage doors, officials said.

The door knocked the elevator over, causing Pridemore to fall more than 25 feet, and his head hit the bumper of the fire truck.

A Delaware State Police helicopter transported Pridemore to Christiana Hospital, but he died the following day. He was 54 years old.

Pridemore was also the City Manager of Clayton.

Pridemore joined the fire company in early 1991 and was elected chief 30 years later. He previously served as secretary, vice president and president of the fire company, according to his obituary.

Pridemore became a fire lieutenant in 2013 and was promoted to fire captain in 2015, first deputy chief in 2016 and deputy chief in 2019.

He also served as president of the Kent County Volunteer Firefighters Association in 2013 and served as a military police officer in the Delaware National Guard.

He was a master mason at Harmony Lodge No. 13 AF&AM in Smyrna.

At Pridemore’s funeral on Tuesday, March 15 at Clayton Fire Station, his longtime friend and fire department spokesman Kevin Wilson told mourners that the chief “would start mopping the floor and the members would gravitate around him and follow what he was doing”.

Pridemore had worked as Clayton City Manager for just a month, “but it didn’t take long to realize we had chosen the right person for the job,” Clayton Mayor Nick Smith added during his eulogy. funeral.

Former business leader Alex Carrow said Pridemore has always insisted its firefighters put their families first.

“He expected us to attend family events, even if they were in conflict with something at the fire station,” Carrow said.

The Mayor of Dover, Robin R. Christiansen, expressed “our deepest sympathy, condolences and prayers to the family, friends and fellow siblings of Chief John Pridemore of the Clayton Fire Company”. Image of the city of Dover.

A private burial followed the public memorial service.

Pridemore was born on February 12, 1968. He is survived by his wife, Kimberly; son, Michael; daughter, Amanda; and granddaughter, Sadie.

On Friday, members of the Clayton Fire Company led a procession that carried Pridemore’s body from the Wilmington medical examiner’s office to Faries Funeral Home in Smyrna.

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La Grange Fire Department Captain David Scott “Pumper” Holmes also served as an alderman and interim mayor. Photo of the town of La Grange.

David Scott “Pumper” Holmes

La Grange Fire Department Captain David Holmes began having difficulty breathing while battling a bushfire in North Carolina on February 20, authorities said. He was rushed to a nearby emergency room and placed on life support, then transferred to Cape Fear Hospital.

Medical staff removed life support at 3:54 p.m. on February 28. He was 51 years old. The cause of death was listed as a massive heart attack.

Holmes had served the La Grange Fire Department for more than two decades, becoming chief after 10 years at the station, according to his obituary. He retired but then returned to the department as a captain when his son, Tyler, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the department.

“David’s commitment to the fire service was unwavering,” read his obituary. “He would stop anything to answer a fire call, and even came back from Georgia to answer a major call in the area.”

heart attack
La Grange Fire Department Captain David Scott “Pumper” Holmes also served as an alderman and interim mayor. Photo of the town of La Grange.

A volunteer in the county sheriff’s office, Holmes also served as a La Grange alderman for a dozen years. He previously held the position of mayor pro tempore of La Grange.

Holmes worked on the Dawson family farm in La Grange for over a quarter of a century. He also became known in eastern North Carolina as a fireworks technician, his obituary states.

Holmes was born on August 24, 1970 in Lenoir County to Linda Fay Holmes (née Hill) and Eugene Holmes.

He was predeceased by his father. He is survived by his mother; wife, Melba Lane (née Price); the children, Tyler and Julie; and his brother, Michael.

heart attack
The Clayton North Carolina Fire Department Honor Guard paid their respects to the late La Grange Fire Department Captain David Holmes during his funeral on March 7, 2022. Fire Department photo by Clayton.

The La Grange Fire Department led a procession on March 3 that carried Holmes’ body from Raleigh to Rouse Funeral Home in La Grange.

La Grange Fire Chief Ryan Riley called it an opportunity to honor “a good man, a great family and a good fire chief.”

A funeral service for Holmes was held March 7 at Fairview Cemetery.

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