DAYTON, Ind. (WLFI) — Dozens of friends, family and emergency personnel are mourning the loss of Derek Hufford. He died in an early morning Off-Road Vehicle crash in Carroll County on Saturday.
He served on both the Madison Township Fire Department and Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department.
The Madison Township Firefighters and Sheffield Volunteer Firefighters never know when they'll get that call for help. But they're glad this call wasn't theirs to take.
“That's one of our saving graces, we didn't have to deal with it, unfortunately, seeing him that way,” said Sheffield Volunteer Fire Chief Shawn Alkire.
The Carroll County Coroner pronounced Derek Hufford dead on the scene. He was thrown from the passenger seat window of an ORV. Hufford served on the Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department since April of this year. Chief Alkire said there are many things they'll miss.
“Just a go-getter, easy-going kid, great to get along with," said Alkire. "He didn't know a stranger, I mean he'd talk to any of us."
Madison Township Fire Chief Tom Smith agrees. Hufford had served in that department for nearly two years.
“He's just a good kid, I mean, he was willing to learn. He was willing to do anything you asked him to do,” said Smith.
Both chiefs know working as a firefighter can require putting your life on the line. But Chief Smith said losing a partner still isn't something you can prepare for.
“He was out on his own, having fun and things happen and you never think it's going to happen to you or your family but it does happen to other people and it happens to us,” said Smith.
Chief Alkire said volunteer fire stations are struggling.
“I've got older guys on here, I mean we've got a dying breed here, volunteers are hurting, we need help so it's rough losing a young guy like that,” said Alkire.
Chief Smith said both fire departments are leaning on each other to get through this tough time.
“We'll band together and so we'll get through it, we'll work through it,” said Smith
Twenty-five-year-old Quentin Smith was operating the ORV during the time of the crash. He was arrested for operating while intoxicated causing death. He's currently behind bars at the Carroll County Jail.