Dozens of departments step up to help firefighters grieve after tragic line-of-duty death


Outside Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue, parking has become a bit of a problem. Dozens of agencies have shown up to the station offering their assistance after Capt. Bradley Long died Monday in the line of duty.

WBTV spoke with Karyn Yaussy with Catawba County Emergency Services.

“When family is hurting, family gathers around to protect,” Yaussy said.

Every open piece of pavement and spot of grass is filled in front of the station, not with the department’s own vehicles, but their firefighting family from far and wide.

“It’s amazing that the borders just disappear,” Yaussy said.

Yaussy said 300 first responders from 35 departments in 10 counties are working Sherrills Ford’s and Newton Fire’s calls, so the people who knew and loved Capt. Bradley Long can cope with their devastating loss.

Long was searching for a missing swimmer in Lake Norman on Monday when some type of emergency happened under water.

“When you lose your firefighter family it’s the same kind of feelings, and they need to be able to process that,” Yaussy said.

Tuesday, less than a day after his son died, Jerry Long, Bradley’s father, spoke to the media during a news conference.

“I was profoundly honored to sit next to him yesterday. He came to me, saying that he wanted to speak,” Yaussy said.

The bond that intertwines firefighters is seemingly impossible to understand unless you’re part of it, and that family will be crucial in the days ahead.

“It hasn’t even been 48 hours yet so the emotions are very raw,” Yaussy said.

One month ago, Pineville Volunteer Fire Department lost firefighter Richard Sheltra. Thursday, the engine dedicated in his honor will be outside Sherrills Ford, ready to carry their workload.

Long’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday. For more information on the services, click here.

WBTV is the Observer’s media partner.