YOUNGSVILLE:Veteran firefighter who died on Christmas, remember - WNCN: News, Weather

Veteran Youngsville firefighter who died on Christmas remembered

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Veteran firefighter Jeff Fields died on Christmas Day after suffering a heart attack on December 13. Veteran firefighter Jeff Fields died on Christmas Day after suffering a heart attack on December 13.
Fields donned a dress and a wig as part of a charity pancake fundraiser. Fields donned a dress and a wig as part of a charity pancake fundraiser.
Fields leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 14 and 19. Fields leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 14 and 19.
YOUNGSVILLE, N.C. -

A team of first responders in Franklin County used to saving lives are dealing with a tragedy of their own this holiday weekend. 

Funeral plans are being finalized in Youngsville for a 30-year veteran volunteer firefighter who suddenly died on Christmas Day.

Loved ones say Youngsville Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Fields died on Christmas morning after suffering a heart attack on Dec. 13. He leaves behind a wife and two children ages 14 and 19.

He had recently undergone a successful heart bypass surgery, and was even in church with his family on Christmas Eve.

"He was doing so well, just no words could describe how I felt when I found out," Asst. Fire Chief David Williams said. "Obviously, it's never a good time to lose a loved one, but Christmas Day, that just makes it even worse."

Facebook pictures tell the story of a man who was brave enough to run into a burning building, and also brave enough to ... well ... put on a dress and a wig for a charity fundraiser.

"He always had a good attitude. And at a time, when you're not necessarily feeling good or having a bad day, having Jeff around always made you feel a little better," Williams said.

Loved ones say he was also generous.

"He would take the shirt off his back and give it to anyone that was in need," Williams said.

Some say that was the truth. Just ask one of the many young firefighters Fields mentored through rookie training.

"I ran up to the truck one day, and I didn't have my gear," firefighter Carson Hilton said.  "He said, 'Get in the truck!'  I said, 'I don't have my gear.'  He jumped off the truck, dropped his pants and said, 'You do now,' and jumped back in the truck and drove barefoot.  He was just a really big inspiration to me and meant a lot to me and he...I think he meant a lot to a lot of other guys in this department."

A funeral is planned for Dec. 28 at 3 p.m. Visitation is scheduled at Youngsville Fire Station One at 803 Wheaton Avenue from 12 p.m. To 2:30 p.m.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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