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Incident Name:
Date: 2/23/09
Personnel: Derek Edward North
Age: 34
Agency/Organization: Stockton Fire Department, Lakeland GA
Position: firefighter

Summary: Firefighter North was the front seat passenger in a 1964 "Fire Knocker" engine responding IA to a wildland fire. As the engine responded, it approached a split intersection with another highway. As the apparatus approached the intersection, the driver tried to apply the brakes and found that he was unable to stop. The apparatus traveled through the first part of the intersection and then swerved to avoid traffic in the second part of the intersection. The apparatus overturned and came to rest on a utility pole. Firefighter North was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and sustained fatal injuries. The cause of death was listed as trauma to the head. Neither the driver of the engine or Firefighter North were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.


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Accident Location, Stockton GA

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • NIOSH Report: One Fire Fighter Dies and Another is Severely Injured in a Single Vehicle Rollover Crash—Georgia

    NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should:

    • ensure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding seatbelt use are established and enforced
    • ensure that programs are in place to provide for the inspection, maintenance, testing, and retirement of automotive fire apparatus
    • provide and ensure all drivers successfully complete a comprehensive driver’s training program such as NFPA 1451, Standard for a Fire Service Vehicle Operations Training Program, before allowing a member to drive and operate a fire department vehicle
    • consider replacing fire apparatus more than 25 years old
    • consider downgrading the emergency response code for auxiliary fire apparatus such as brush fire support vehicles
    • be aware of programs that provide assistance in obtaining alternative funding, such as grant funding, to replace or purchase fire apparatus and equipment
    • Additionally, federal and state departments of transportation should consider modifying or removing exemptions that allow fire fighters to not wear seat belts

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Media Articles and Reports

  • Firefighter listed in fair condition, His brother to be buried Thursday

    2/23/09 | (no longer online)

    While one brother remains under the care of regional medical personnel, the other will be laid to rest Thursday.

    Injured on Monday while responding to a call for firefighting assistance, Chad North was listed early Tuesday afternoon as being in “fair condition” by a spokesperson for South Georgia Medical Center.

    Funeral services for his brother, Derek North, are scheduled at 2 p.m. Thursday at Southside Baptist Church in Lakeland. Burial will follow in Wayfare Cemetery in Echols County. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. today at the Lakeland-based Music Funeral Services.

    At 3:59 p.m. Monday, firefighters with the Lanier County/Stockton Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to a reportedly “out of control” fire at Lloyd Shaw Farms. Two trucks — one from Station No. 1, the other from Station No. 2 — responded.

    While en route to the scene of the fire, the truck from Station No. 2, driven by Chad North, turned over at the intersection of U.S. Highway 129 and U.S. Highway 84. Gary Yeomans, Lanier County’s district fire chief, said the fire truck swerved at the intersection to avoid a collision with traffic in the area and rolled over.

    Chad North was taken to South Georgia Medical Center, where he continues to undergo treatment for injuries sustained in the accident.

    The truck from Station No. 1 was driven by Derek North’s wife, Ruby North. The reportedly “out of control” fire turned out to be a controlled burn, Yeomans said.

    Derek North, 34, was born in Lowndes County on Dec. 26, 1974, to James “Jimmy” North and Judy Ann Floyd North. His father served as station chief with the Stockton Volunteer Fire Department.  Derek North was employed as the store manager of the Harvey’s Supermarket in Homerville. He had been with the grocery company since high school. He loved being in the great outdoors, hunting and fishing. He was a member of Reedy Creek Hunting Club.

    Besides his wife, parents and brother Chad North, Derek North is survived by a daughter, Kelsey Ann North; son, Justin Edward; and two other brothers, Bryan North and Ryan North, who also serve as volunteer firefighters. A fund has been established by his fellow Lanier County firefighters. Contributions can be made to the Derek North Memorial Fund, Lanier County Fire Department, P.O. Box 68, Lakeland, GA 31635.

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

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