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UPDATE: Boones Mill firefighter dies as a result of storm-related injury

July 02, 2012|Bryce Williams& Web Staff
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ROCKY MOUNT, Va. — Arrangements have been made for a memorial service honoring fallen firefighter John Echternach, Jr.

It will be held on Saturday, July 7 at Franklin Heights Baptist Church Sanctuary.  It's located at 110 Hilltop Drive in Rocky Mount.  The service begins at 10:00 a.m.

Fire departments sending crews to the service are asked to send no more than one large apparatus per agnecy, due to limited parking space.

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A Boones Mill firefighter injured during Friday's storm has died.

John Echternach Jr. passed away Monday morning.

Echternach was responding to the fire station during Friday's storm when a tree fell on him while he was outside of his vehicle. WDBJ7 has learned Echternach was trying to help someone else who had a tree fall on their car, when another tree fell on him.

He had served with the Boones Mill Fire-EMS Department since June of 2003.

Echternach was 54.

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Here is the news release from Franklin County:

The entire family of Franklin County Public Safety is saddened to report that John L. Echternach, Jr. passed away on July 2, 2012.  On Friday, June 29, 2012, Firefighter/EMT Echternach, 54, was critically injured in the line of duty. Tragically, Firefighter/EMT Echternach died as a result of those injuries.  He was a dedicated member of the Boones Mill Fire-EMS Department and the Franklin County Department of Public Safety since June of 2003.  John will be greatly missed by all his fellow firefighters and his death is a tragic reminder of the dangers first responders face providing public service.  Please keep John's family in your thoughts and prayers.

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A Boones Mill volunteer firefighter was critically injured when a tree fell on his car while responding to the fire department in his personal vehicle.

The firefighter suffered significant injuries.

He was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hosptial and is in critical condition.

Traffic has been backed up for several hours on Route 220 near Boones Mill because of several downed trees in the area, according to Franklin County dispatch.

Reporter Bryce Williams spoke with Echternach’s fellow firefighters. The firefighting profession is a brotherhood, of sorts. Members form a close bond, which is unlike others. Fellow firefighter Steve Mills says Echternach’s passing will leave an empty feeling at the department. ” If you can make sense out of any of this I don't believe anybody is ready to leave this life but John left it doing what he did best and that was serving his fellow citizens,” he said. Mills also commented on Echternach’s work ethic. "He was our most active EMT as far as responding to calls-night, day, it didn't matter bad weather--he really put himself out there to help people all the time and he is deeply missed,” he continued.

Firefighter Brandon McKee spoke to us about the many things he was taught by John Echternach. He also said  Echternach was very dedicated and did not mind working long hours so he could help people.  “The biggest thing about John was every time the tones went out for EMS or fire, you'd always hear Lieutenant 7, in route. He was always here it could be 5 in the morning and John was here. He loved helping people, plain and simple,” he said.

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