The Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Company on Friday was mourning the loss of 17-year-old junior firefighter Justin Townsend, who was killed Thursday night while responding to a fire call.
Police said Townsend was being driven to the fire hall, to respond to a brush-fire alarm, by 18-year-old John Morton Jr. when Morton’s pickup truck was unable to maneuver a curve on Pepperbox Road while traveling at what police said were excessive speeds. The truck spun out and hit a telephone pole before it overturned onto the roof, officers said.
Townsend was pronounced dead at the scene, while Morton was transported to Beebe Medical Center, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and was then released. Both Townsend and Morton had been properly restrained at the time of the incident, police noted.
“This is a sad day,” said Matt Gajdos of the Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Company. “It’s a devastating loss.”
Townsend is the first fatality the company has experienced in its 69 years of service. Gajdos said the DVFC will be out of service, with its fire district being covered by other area fire companies, until it is ready to serve the community again.
Funeral arrangements for Townsend were still being made on Friday, with details to be released as soon as they are finalized. In lieu of flowers, the Townsend family requested monetary donations to be made to the fire company in Justin’s name. For more information, visit the fire company’s Web site at http://dagsborovfd.com.