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Deadly month in N.C. claims 4 volunteer firemen

Officials launch investigation into diver's death at Lake Norman

Karyn Yaussy, Catawba County emergency management coordinator, said she expected the investigation into Long’s death by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office to be a lengthy one.
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Karyn Yaussy, Catawba County emergency management coordinator, said she expected the investigation into Long’s death by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office to be a lengthy one.

Firefighter Bradley Long’s death was the fourth associated with a volunteer fire department in North Carolina in just over a month — and the second in the Charlotte area.

Long, a volunteer with Sherrill’s Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue and a full-time firefighter with the city of Newton, died Monday after he and two other rescue divers had trouble while trying to recover the body of a swimmer who jumped into Lake Norman a day earlier.

All of the most recent deaths were associated with volunteer fire departments.

▪ On April 30, Pineville firefighter Richard Sheltra, 20, died after apparently getting lost while battling a fire in the Edwin Watts golf store on Pineville-Matthews Road. The Mecklenburg County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the accident.

▪ On May 7, Kenly firefighter John Morris Davis, Jr., 45, died of a heart attack while responding to a car crash. Kenly is in Johnston County, east of Raleigh.

▪ On May 12, Hugo firefighter Jay Tyndall, 45, died from a brain aneurysm he developed shortly after responding to a call.

A fifth firefighter, Josh Woods of the Siler City Fire Department, died Jan. 12 when his vehicle crashed while responding to a call.

Ed Brinson, deputy director of the N.C. State Firemen’s Association said North Carolina averages about five deaths per year.

Brinson said he would hate to speculate on a reason for the recent spate of deaths.

“Often when we have a line of duty death, everything was done correct, by the book,” he said. “There was just an unforeseen circumstance.”

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