An N.C. Air National Guard fire captain died after he was sickened while helping fight a house fire in Stanly County on Sunday night, officials said.
James Alan Hicks was found dead in the bedroom of the guard’s firestation at Stanly County Airport early Monday after he returned from the fire in the 39000 block of Kemp Road, WBTV, the Observer’s news partner, reported. He was 44.
Hicks was the first member of the N.C. Air National Guard’s Fire Emergency Services to die in the line of duty, guard officials said Tuesday.
He was ... interested in getting the best training and equipment for the community, the department and his fellow firefighters.
Daryl Cook, N.C. Air National Guard
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The guard unit’s initial assignment at the fire was to bring in more water, but more firefighters were needed and Hicks joined an interior attack of the fire for about five minutes, the guard said in a news release.
Hicks and other firefighters had to evacuate when conditions became too dangerous, WBTV reported. He became sick and vomited, officials told WBTV. About an hour later, he reportedly said he was feeling better, officials said.
Hicks joined the guard’s Fire Emergency Services in July 2010 after serving with Concord Fire and Life Safety since April 2001. As a fire instructor at Cleveland County Community College, he also played a key role in training aircraft rescue responders throughout the state.
“He was a passionate firefighter and fire captain who was interested in getting the best training and equipment for the community, the department and his fellow firefighters,” said Daryl Cook, the fire chief of the N.C. Air National Guard’s Fire Emergency Services. “He played an intricate role in strategic equipment planning that will resonate in our department for years to come.”
“We have lost a valuable firefighter who will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all of us that worked with him,” Cook said. “Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife and his children.”