13-mile funeral procession with 250+ fire and emergency vehicles
CLAYTON – This Monday, September 28th, the Town of Clayton will play host to a massive day of remembrance for Clayton Deputy Fire Chief Jason Dean, who lost his month-long battle with COVID-19 earlier this week.
With very little time and under extreme duress, the Clayton Fire Department has essentially planned the biggest parade in town history. Possibly 500+ firefighters and first responders from around the state and beyond will be coming with 250+ fire/emergency trucks to honor Jason with one final fire run through his hometown. We hope the entire community comes out to show its support and enjoy this salute to Jason.
This parade will have a HUGE impact on businesses along and near the route – it may TAKE AN HOUR OR MORE for the entire procession to pass. This 13-mile procession will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday at McLaurin Funeral Home on US 70 Business West, with dozens of fire trucks assembling as early as 7 a.m. in the Walmart shopping center. They’ll make their way down US 70 to Powhatan Road to NC42E to Main Street and then return back to home base – Clayton Fire Station One – Jason’s home-away-from-home for the last two decades.
Deputy Chief Dean LOVED a parade and he LOVED showing off fire “apparatus’ – that was one of his favorite words! There will be more than 9 ladder trucks parked with ladders up along the route – check the map for their locations. Jason’s wife, Kristy and two daughters, 13-year-old Addie and 7-year-old Harper are looking forward to being in the procession. The girls have asked if they can wave to those who gather along the route. Mom, of course, said, “Yes, those are the people who want to show their love for your Daddy.” And we would love for you to dress in red and be along the route to wave back.
Below is the map of both the procession to and from Fire Station One. The procession will travel 25 mph, heading first from McLaurin’s Funeral Home down US 70 to Powhatan Road, near where Jason grew up as a boy. It will turn left onto Glen Laurel Road, passing East Clayton Community Park. It will then travel up NC 42 E passing Clayton Fire Station Two. Then it will turn at Front Street, heading along our greenway path toward Downtown Clayton. It will turn onto Central Avenue at the Post Office and then travel down Main Street, passing under a huge American flag that will be draped beneath a ladder truck raised above the intersection of Lombard and Main streets at Horne Square. The procession will turn at Town Square and travel down Fayetteville Street, passing Town Hall and into Station 1.
At all left hand turns (US-70 E onto Powhatan Road, Powhatan Rd onto Glen Laurel, Glen Laurel onto NC-42E and Front St onto Central Ave) oncoming traffic will be stopped for the entire processional. We expect this to be about an hour and encourage you to find an alternate route.
Main Street from Robertson St to Central Ave will be blocked to all traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Please note that if you park along Main Street you will be blocked in until after the processional, which, again, could take an hour or more to pass.
After this processional through town, Deputy Chief Dean will then be carried inside the bay of Fire Station One, at 325 W. Horne Street, a place he spent countless hours. From 10 a.m. to Noon, friends, family, fellow firefighters and the public can walk through the bay to pay their respects and leave a message in the funeral register. Out of respect for Jason and his family, masks and social distancing will be required when in the Fire Station bay. We expect a large crowd and will have to cut off the line at a certain point so that preparations can be made to move Deputy Chief Dean to his final resting place.
At 12:30 p.m., we’ll sound the fire whistle/sirens again, and the procession to Maplewood Cemetery will leave Fire Station One, carrying Jason’s casket on Car 2. The procession will travel up Robertson Street, turn right on Main Street, travel to Lombard and then take Lombard to Regency Drive and into Maplewood Cemetery. Main Street will be shut down from Robertson to Lombard during this processional. Two ladder trucks will also display the American flag at the entrance of that town cemetery. The burial service will be a private service, reserved for family, friends and local first responders.
Out of respect for Deputy Chief Dean and so that his fellow coworkers can pay their respects, all Town of Clayton facilities will be closed on Monday until 1 p.m.
PLEASE understand that traffic will be significantly impacted by this procession and the number of trucks coming to town. We expect congestion and delays from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and anticipate the 13-mile funeral procession to take about an hour to pass by.
The Clayton Fire Department and the Dean family can’t say enough about how much they have appreciated the community’s support and prayers in the past few weeks. We hope you’ll come out to see the procession. Please continue to share your well-wishes. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Clayton Firefighters Association. All donations go to benefit Jason’s family, and the other fire families struggling with COVID-19 or are in need. Go to ClaytonFire.org
-Town of Clayton Release