Firefighters pay their respects to fallen Emmitsburg colleague

He died of heart attack while fighting brush fire

February 17, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Hundreds of fire and emergency workers from Maryland and southern Pennsylvania are expected in Emmitsburg tomorrowand Friday to pay final respects to firefighter Terry Lee Myers, who died of an apparent heart attack while fighting a brush fire Monday, authorities said.

Myers, 50, served the Vigilant Hose Company of Emmitsburg for 33 years, said Wayne Powell, a fire company spokesman.

"Terry is the first to die in the line of duty since our company was founded in 1884," Powell said yesterday.

According to Powell, Myers was finishing lunch at a restaurant in Emmitsburg when the fire alarm sounded at 12: 16 p.m. He went to the station and drove Engine 64 to the college's Knott Athletic and Recreation Convocation Complex, where a brush fire had started.

"Terry was operating the engine's front pump, providing water to firefighters, when he collapsed," Powell said.

Other firefighters, including his son, Randy, attempted to revive him. He was pronounced dead at Gettysburg Memorial Hospital less than an hour later, Powell said.

Myers is remembered as a jovial, good-humored man who also served on the fire company's board and cooked for social gatherings, Powell said.

His sudden death has touched every member of the company and most everyone in Emmitsburg, he said.

Three other Vigilant firefighters -- Tom Topper, Dave Kopenhaver and Greg Hollinger, all in their 40s -- have died within a little more than a year, although not in the line of duty, he said.

Firefighters from Frederick and Carroll County and Pennsylvania have formed duty crews, coming to stay and sleep at the Emmitsburg station and handle fire and emergency calls while members of the Vigilant company cope with their grief, Powell said.

A Frederick County Critical Incident Stress Debriefing team and a similar unit from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems came to Emmitsburg Monday evening to assist fire company members, Powell said.

Myers, a Main Street resident, worked for many years in Taneytown for Ingersoll-Dresser Pump Manufacturing Co., Powell said.

He is survived by his wife, Wanda, and sons Terry, Bill and Randy.

Powell said Gov. Parris N. Glendening called the family yesterday to offer his personal condolences.

The family will receive friends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Skiles Funeral Home, 210 W. Main St., Emmitsburg.

A mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, at the corner of North Seton Avenue and DePaul Street. Interment will follow at Resthaven Memorial Cemetery, about four miles north of Frederick on Route 15.

A reception will follow at the fire station in Emmitsburg.

Pub Date: 2/17/99

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