Local Firefighter Dies While On Duty

Chris Daniels Fire SuitLocal firefighters are mourning the loss of a local hero.  Firefighter Chris Daniels was on duty at the Pine Level Fire Department Monday morning when he collapsed and died.

Daniels was a full-time firefighter, serving as Engineer/Acting Captain with the Smithfield Fire Department. Daniels, 40, of Selma, worked part-time with the Pine Level, Thanksgiving and Selma Fire Departments. He had previously served three years as assistant chief of the Selma Fire Department.

Pine Level Police Chief Keith Sparks said police responded to the fire department Monday morning, however EMS crews had already arrived on the scene. The cause of death has not been determined.

Kim Robertson Director of Johnston County Emergency Services remembered Daniels fondly. “Every time you saw him, he had a smile on his face. He was one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever know. He was always willing to help out.”

“Everyone is in shock about his death,” said Assistant Director of Johnston County Emergency Services Paul Whitehurst. Whitehurst is also Chief of the Kenly Fire Department. “He was a great firefighter. He was a verydedicated individual. He served with a servants heart.”
Flags at area fire stations were lowered Monday after firefighters learned of Daniels death. At the Smithfield Fire Department, Daniel’s helmet and turnout gear were placed outside the fire station.  The Four Oaks Fire Department sent a fire engine to Smithfield to help cover the district as Smithfield firemen went to be with Daniels family. 

As of Monday afternoon, funeral arrangements were still incomplete.