Fire Service

Slain firefighter’s father: ‘I will never think 30 years is enough’

Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 17:48

Kate Rodeman sat among friends and family as the letter she wrote to the man who killed her husband was read to a courtroom full of people.

“When you killed my husband, you turned my life into pure chaos,” said Justin Conklin, the Lansing firefighter who read the letter on her behalf. “His death did not only break my heart, it broke all of me and more. You stole our future, the life we could have had.”

Grant Taylor, 24, sat about 20 feet from Conklin and looked down at the table in front of him as Conklin continued to read.

Minutes later, Taylor simply said “no, sir” when Circuit Court Judge Clinton Canady III asked him if he wanted to say anything. And moments after that, Canady sentenced Taylor to 30 to 40 years in prison for killing Lansing firefighter Dennis Rodeman in September 2015, when Rodeman was among a handful of firefighters who were collecting donations for charity.

It’s a sentence Rodeman’s father, Max, thought was too lenient, according a letter Kelly Flory, Dennis Rodeman’s sister, read on his behalf.

(Story continues below video)

Kelly Flory, sister of firefighter Dennis Rodeman, speaks during the sentencing for Grant Taylor.Christopher Haxel/Lansing State Journal

“In my opinion you should have to sit in a cell the size of a coffin and think about your life, where my son is for eternity, never to play with his son,” Flory read. “I will never think 30 years is enough for what you have done to my grandson’s family and mom.”

Then, Flory addressed Taylor herself, often looking at him.

“Coward,” she said. “That is how I refer to you. I can’t bring myself to call you by your name. … So as you sit in your cell every day for at least the next 30 years, which I don’t feel is long enough, and you see your family on regular visits, just remember, we can’t see my brother.

“I feel like you got to choose your punishment and my brother never got to choose how long he’d be alive.”

Buy PhotoDennis Rodeman’s sister, Kelly Flory of Vermontville, middle, hugs Karen Taylor, right, mother of Grant Taylor, who was sentenced Sept. 7, 2017 to 30 to 40 years in prison for Rodeman’s murder. Also pictured is Taylor’s aunt Deb Cook of Lansing, who sat with her sister throughout the hearings for the past two years. “We needed that hug,” Cook said. (Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal)

Taylor, a graduate of Holt High School and a former Michigan State University student, pleaded guilty but mentally ill last month to second-degree murder and other charges as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. He had faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder at trial.

The deal set his minimum sentence at 30 years in prison, but didn’t set a maximum. Prosecutors asked for maximum sentence of 50 years, but Canady went along with the probation department’s guidelines.

Prosecutors said last month after a hearing on the the plea that they met with Rodeman’s family to discuss the agreement before it was offered.

“This was the kind of case where you have a tragedy, you have an immeasurable loss, and there are really no easy answers that make sense, in how the justice system can respond,” Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon said in a statement last month.

“We can never truly find justice or ‘closure’ in a case like this, but I believe we do have an approach that allows for mental health treatment, within the secure walls of the prison system, a lengthy sentence that acknowledges the gravity of this offense, and the impact on the victim and his family.”

Siemon didn’t return a message seeking comment after the hearing.

During the hearing, Taylor’s attorney, Stacia Buchanan, discussed her client’s mental health.

“He did not choose this life for himself,” she said. “His mother did not choose this life for him. He was not raised to have this life. Unfortunately, mental illness is a disease like other physical diseases. Up until then Mr. Taylor was a good student, he was going to university, he had a good family. And everything changed for him.”

Taylor’s mother, Karen Cook Taylor, declined to comment after the hearing.

“It’s a hard day,” Buchanan said after the hearing. She declined to comment further.

Taylor will receive credit for two years already served in jail, so he could be eligible for parole in 28 years. He also pleaded guilty to failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death and fleeing from police, and will serve sentences on those charges concurrently.

Related:Full coverage of Grant Taylor case

The crash

In September 2015, Rodeman, 35, was with a handful of other firefighters who were collecting donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association at the intersection of Cedar Street and Jolly Road. Police have said that Taylor was driving in the area, became angered with the traffic backup from the fundraiser and exchanged words with Rodeman before throwing an apple core at the firefighter and driving away.

Dennis Rodeman (Photo: Lansing Fire Department)

Taylor drove about a mile south, according to court records, before turning around and diving back toward the intersection. Taylor drove at one firefighter, who jumped out of the way, before striking Rodeman, according to testimony. Rodeman later died at a local hospital.

Police have said that Taylor admitted to hitting Rodeman with his truck. He fled the scene and was arrested a short time later near his home, according to court records.

Taylor’s plea came despite ongoing questions about his mental health. His mother twice petitioned to have him involuntarily hospitalized in the years before the crash, saying he had not been taking his medicine and was behaving erratically.

Within two weeks of Rodeman’s death, Buchanan asked that Taylor’s competency to stand trial be evaluated. While he was initially found competent, Buchanan requested a second evaluation about seven months later, in April, 2016.

Competency means a defendant understands the various roles of the judge, attorneys and jury and is able to help with his or her own defense.

Two months after approving Buchanan’s second request, Canady declared Taylor incompetent to stand trial based on the recommendation of the state’s Center for Forensic Psychiatry.

Taylor was returned to competency in June of this year, but remained housed at the forensic center to ensure his competency for trial.

Because he pleaded guilty but mentally ill, Taylor will receive mental health treatment while in prison. He will not return to the forensic center, however, unless the Michigan Department of Corrections requests help housing Taylor. Officials have said that is unlikely.

‘Strength and courage’

Rodeman, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, also worked for the Vermontville Fire Department before joining Lansing’s department.

Firefighters from both departments attended many of Taylor’s hearings as the case progressed through the court system.

During Thursday’s hearing the courtroom was so full that a few people had to sit in the jury box.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Despite judge’s felony sex bribe conviction he still gets to be a volunteer firefighter

Statter 911 - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 17:18

Large support for former chief in Village of West Carthage, New York

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Categories: Fire Service

Early video & citizen commentary: Abandoned factory fire in West Virginia

Statter 911 - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:18

Police catch juveniles in the act of setting the fire

The post Early video & citizen commentary: Abandoned factory fire in West Virginia appeared first on Statter911.

Categories: Fire Service

Elderly pilot crashes into tree, flips plane, walks away unscathed

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 07:07

JONATHAN MITCHELL

This the dramatic moment an elderly pilot crashed a light aircraft into a tree, sending it hurtling towards the tarmac of a car park.

Manfred Forst, 79, only suffered minor injuries in the crash in the small town of Plainville, in Connecticut, police said.

The crash was captured by a nearby CCTV camera, with the footage showing the pilot desperately trying to turn his plane away from the tree as he approaches the car park.

But Mr Forst is too late in his attempts to avoid the crash, with the plane clipping the top of the tree before spinning in the air.

It then comes crashing to the floor, landing with a thump upright next to several cars parked nearby.

Police discovered his battered Cessna 172 airplane in the car  park shortly after the crash at 11.25am on Monday.

Mr Forst, originally from Germany, was taken to hospital with only minor cuts and has since been released, police in Connecticut said.

He told NBC he was “on his way to breakfast” when the crash happened.

Mr Forst said: “”I was very fortunate I got out of it without any real injuries. I’m just so thankful.”

An investigation has been launched by the Federal Aviation Administration.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/elderly-pilot-crashes-into-tree-flips-plane-walks-away-unscathed-a3632851.html

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Plane crash kills 9-year-old, pilot in Gillespie County

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 07:05

KXAN Staff

GILLESPIE COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two people are dead after a plane crash Sunday in Gillespie County, including a 9-year-old girl.

The Department of Public Safety says the plane crashed into a pasture about 1 mile south of Stonewall just before 7 p.m. Shane Lee Buck, 39, was flying his Rans Coyote II plane with a 9-year-old girl riding along. Both died at the scene.

Authorities haven’t named the little girl, but Fredericksburg ISD says she was a fourth-grade student at Fredericksburg Elementary and that grief counselors were on site all day Monday.

Neighbors of the pilot say they were shocked to hear the news and saw children playing in the backyard just last week.

“I could always sort of see them through their fence over there playing and laughing, but the children always seemed to get along really, really well. Lots of laughter that would come out of that backyard. I feel like that was a very, very happy family,” said Buck’s neighbor Natasha Grau.

Locals in Stonewall say Buck was renting a hanger less than a mile from where he crashed the plane. KXAN spoke to the owners of the private hanger, AeroBurg, who said they are working with investigators however they can.

The National Transportation Safety board is at the scene investigating and will likely be there two or three days as they document the area and examine the wreckage. Officials have not said what caused the plane to go down, but a preliminary report should be released next week.

http://kxan.com/2017/09/11/deadly-plane-crash-kills-2-in-gillespie-county/

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Aircraft Crash Reported In Snohomish County

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 07:02

By Neal McNamara (Patch Staff)

SNOHOMISH, WA – Firefighters in Snohomish County were responding Monday afternoon to a report of a plane crash, although the aircraft might have been a paraglider. The plane was down near the city of Snohomish along the 14900 block of Connelly Road. That location is near a bend in the Snohomish River just a short distance east of SR 9.

The pilot of the craft had reportedly made it out the crash uninjured, and fire crews were leaving the scene around 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Firefighters were accessing the scene via the Heirman Wildlife Preserve, which is at 14913 Connelly Road, and from the other side of the river along Short School Road.

A fisherman at the scene told firefighters that he “watched it go down,” and another fisherman had responded to the scene with a boat. Firefighters did not report any sign of a pilot.

We will update this story as soon as more information is available.

https://patch.com/washington/edmonds/aircraft-crash-reported-snohomish-county

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Frankfurt Airport attack: Tear gas incident leaves several people with breathing problems

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 07:00

Police investigating where gas came from as victims treated for inhalation

Several people have been injured by a suspected tear gas attack at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Witnesses said the check-in area at Terminal 1 was affected on Monday morning.

Police said six people were being treated for breathing problems after the incident at the country’s busiest airport.

“The cause is unclear, investigations continue,” a spokesperson added.

Frankfurt Airport operators said the fire brigade’s operations had ended and found no “harmful substance” in the departures hall.

Check-in has reopened and flights are operating as normal.

The incident came less than 48 hours after a bomb scare caused a partial evacuation at Frankfurt Airport.

A man who was believed to be suffering from mental illness told police he was carrying explosives in his luggage but none were found.

A taxi driver had alerted officers about the 37-year-old’s strange behaviour and they met him as he arrived at Terminal 1 on Saturday evening.

Local reports said the man was already known to police and has been taken to a psychological ward.

previous alert was sparked on 31 August after a passenger entered a secure area before completing security checks.

Germany remains on high alert following an Isis-linked terror attack that killed 12 people in December and atrocities across Europe.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/frankfurt-airport-attack-tear-gas-breathing-victims-problems-germany-check-in-spray-a7940281.html

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Hurricane Irma: Reports roof flew off the fire station at Naples Airport

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 06:59

The roof of the fire station at Naples Municipal Airport has been ripped off by Hurricane Irma, said Christopher Rozansky, the airport’s executive director.

No one was at the fire station, and no reports of injuries, Rozansky said.

“It was built in the 80s, so we knew it likely wasn’t going to withstand this,” he said.

At least one hangar has been lost, Rozansky said.

http://www.naplesnews.com/story/weather/hurricanes/2017/09/10/hurricane-irma-reports-roof-flew-off-fire-station-naples-airport/651809001/

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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 06:58

56 Years ago today: On 12 September 1961 an Air France Caravelle crashed near Rabat, Morocco, killing 77 people.

Date: Tuesday 12 September 1961 Time: 21:09 UTC Type: Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III Operator: Air France Registration: F-BJTB C/n / msn: 68 First flight: 1961 Total airframe hrs: 688 Crew: Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6 Passengers: Fatalities: 71 / Occupants: 71 Total: Fatalities: 77 / Occupants: 77 Airplane damage: Destroyed Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location: 9 km (5.6 mls) SSW of Rabat-Sale Airport (RBA) (   Morocco) Phase: Approach (APR) Nature: International Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Paris-Orly Airport (ORY/LFPO), France Destination airport: Rabat-Sale Airport (RBA/GMME), Morocco Flightnumber: AF2005

Narrative:
After a normal flight from Orly Airport, Paris, Flight 2005, Paris-Rabat-Casablanca, reported over the Rabat-Sale Airport, where meteorological conditions were unfavourable owing to thick, low fog which reduced horizontal visibility and ceiling. The pilot reported his intention to attempt a break-through over the nondirectional beacon; the control tower immediately replied that that facility was not in line with the runway, but the message was not acknowledged. The aircraft crashed to the ground at 2109 hours GMT. The aircraft was completely destroyed by impact and the fire which followed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “In the opinion of the board of inquiry of all the theories listed above, those related related to material failure appear the least likely. On the other hand, the theory regarding an error in instrument reading appears more probable than the others. Therefore, the Board explained the failure: 1) by the fact that reading of the Kollsman window altimeter, with which this Caravelle was equipped, may be delicate, as demonstrated by some systematic tests carried out by highly trained crews of various European airlines; 2) by the possibility that the pilot made that error of 1 000 ft at the beginning of the descent, retaining it, then gave his full attention to reading the pointer, which seemed to him to be of prime importance, in order to bring in the aircraft at the minimum authorized altitude.”

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Early video: Deadly Maryland house fire – reporter tries to get inside

Statter 911 - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 13:01

Fire department describes hoarding conditions at home

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Categories: Fire Service

Taking Care of Ourselves

Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 08:54

Adopting a practical approach to reducing firefighter cancer

Read the full article and video here.

 

Personal accountability, situational awareness, education and strong leadership are familiar concepts in the fire service for reducing line-of-duty deaths. On the second day of the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Symposium, these same themes recurred during presentations, workshops and discussions for preventing the incidence of cancer among firefighters.

Since 1990, the Boston Fire Department has experienced 199 cancer-related deaths, Fire Commissioner Joseph E. Finn told the audience. In May of this year, three more firefighters were diagnosed with the disease and he approved presumptive disability claims for five others due to their cancer. Adopting a proactive approach to preventing cancer has become his mission.

“I hit them on the personal accountability level. Our lieutenants, captains and chiefs aren’t baby sitters. This job comes with a level of personal responsibility,” he explained. “Just because the guy next to you isn’t wearing his mask doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You need to think about your loved ones – wife, husband, children, boyfriend or girlfriend – before you take that mask off.”
Deputy Chief Bryan Frieders, of the Pasadena (CA) Fire Department and President of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, called on attendees to take a stand against improper practices and unhealthy behaviors when they see it, from diesel exhaust capture systems that aren’t connected to using tobacco products.

“It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Frieders. “This is a leadership issue from the rookie firefighter all the way to the seasoned chief. It takes every single person to be part of this, to make the coalition stand. We will not tolerate this bad behavior, this indiscretion that we know is killing us. Are you ready for that?”
Understanding the unique dangers of fuel loads that occur in modern fires can help firefighters take precautions against toxic exposures. Dan Madrzykowski, a research engineer with UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, illustrated the stark contrasts between fires in homes of today and those of 30 years ago. The polystyrene and other synthetic materials used in everything from furniture stuffing and upholstery to tables and cement board burns far faster, hotter and produces more toxic vapors than the wooden furniture with cotton and wool upholstery.

In side-by-side videos of burning traditional and contemporary couches, Madrzykowski noted that the contemporary couch began to drip and puddle within minutes of ignition. “If this were on a highway, we’d call for HAZMAT but because it’s in a house it’s what we expect,” he said.

While furnishings, fabrics and building materials and designs aren’t going to change, knowing strategies for how to battle these fires, as well as steps to take to decontaminate afterwards, can help reduce exposure to carcinogens.

Chief Charles Hood, of the San Antonio Fire Department, shared some of his personal experiences about the deaths due to cancer of three firefighters from his department, as well as the cancer-related deaths of many others from his days with Phoenix Fire Department.

“Cancer is something we must take personally,” he said. “As a fire chief, I don’t have a lot of control over what happens when my members get sick. What I can do is love those family members who have lost their firefighter.”
His call to action to everyone attending the symposium was clear: “It is up to you to walk out of this room and take this passion back with you to make things better. We have a long way to go, but the cup is half full because of your commitment.”

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Today is Monday the 11th of September, 2017 – Sixteen years have passed since innocent civilians, police officers and our brothers were murdered when our nation was attacked. Rest In Peace. Never forget!

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 08:01

FIREFIGHTER’S PRAYER

When I’m called to duty God wherever flames may rage
grant me the strength to save a life whatever be its age

Help me to embrace a little child before it is too late 
or save an older person from the horror of that fate

Enable me to be alert to hear the weakest shout
and quickly and efficiently put the fire out

I want to fill my calling Lord and give the best in me
to guard my every neighbor and protect his property

And if according to your will I am to lose my life
God bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife

Here are the stories for today…

Be safe out there!

Tom

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Don’t Be Be Distracted – 9/11/17 – Orio Palmer (The Secret List)

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 07:58

All,

With so much going on, specifically the horrible storms causing so much of the damage and death that we have seen in Texas, Louisiana – and now the Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida – our best thoughts and prayers go out to anyone and everyone who is impacted.

As those folks and those assisting them must continue to deal with the devastation, and while we all should and will do whatever we can to support them….please take time tomorrow to avoid distraction. The rest of us cannot be distracted from the fact that it is-once again-9/11. 9/11 killed and continues to kill nearly everyday and must never be forgotten.

Continues to kill: Nearly 6,000 people directly related to 9/11 are fighting cancer today. 

Today is 9/11/2017 and while so much can be, will be and has been said about this 16th year, please keep those who are still suffering from the murders and attempted murders of 9/11 in your hearts and prayers. The 9/11 murders continue. Never forget?

We cannot and will not forget any aspect of 9/11/01.

A VIDEO FROM AN FDNY BATTALION CHIEF’S SON ABOUT HIS DAD:

HERE IS A VIDEO that hasn’t been viewed as much as perhaps it should…it highlights just one of so many who gave their lives while trying to save others.

FDNY Battalion Chief Orio Palmer… a video provided by his son:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP51TrbyfsI

Please keep those who continue to suffer medically and emotionally-and those who work to help them, in your prayers and ceremonies tomorrow, 9/11/2017.
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.
BillyG
The Secret List 9/10/2017 1930 Hours
www.FireFighterCloseCalls.com

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A letter to share with you from retired FDNY R-2 FF Lee Ielpi

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 07:56

Yet another year has passed since September 11, 2001. Thank you to all of you, our brothers and sisters who stood with us in the aftermath and who continue to remember our darkest day. Today, as we pause to remember, please also include in your hearts and remembrance those who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11 from WTC related illnesses.

September 11th is a difficult day for not only myself and the 9/11 community, but for the world. It brings back so many painful memories from sixteen years ago. However, I firmly believe that we must channel our pain to do something positive and educate people about the events of 9/11. If a new member of your department was not on the job that day, take the time to make sure they understand why we said we would “NEVER FORGET”.

As Billy always reminds us, “Take care. Be Careful. Pass it on.” Take time in your department to plan ahead. How would you respond to a terrorist attack? The #1 finding of the 9/11 Commission was that we never imagined it would happen. Take the time to be prepared.

If you are in NYC, I welcome you to come to the 9/11 Tribute Center www.tributewtc.org. Located right next to FDNY 10/10 firehouse, on the south side of the WTC site, it is a special place where families, survivors, first responders and residents of the WTC are able to share their stories with students and visitors from around the world.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 – here in New York, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA and with all who have become ill since the attacks. You paid the ultimate price for your commitment to serve others.

In loving memory of my son, Jonathan Ielpi, FDNY Squad 288, and all of our brothers.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.

Lee Ielpi

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4 DEAD AFTER A DUKE LIFE FLIGHT HELICOPTER CRASHES IN EASTERN NC

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 07:49

BELVIDERE, NC (WTVD) — The North Carolina Highway Patrol said four people are dead in a Duke Life Flight helicopter crash in Perquimans County near Belvidere in eastern North Carolina. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Eurocopter MBB-BK went down around 11:30 Friday morning near Swamp Road and Sandy Cross Road close to the Amazon US Wind Farm East wind turbine complex.

The Perquimans County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation.

Following the incident, Duke Health officials issued this statement:

“With deep sorrow we can confirm that a Duke Life Flight helicopter crashed early this afternoon near Belvedere, North Carolina. We are in the process of directly confirming information related to this incident and will share more information as it becomes available.”

Authorities said the helicopter was flying to Duke Medical Center from Sentara Albemarle Medical Center when it crashed.

Duke University Hospital President Kevin Sowers said they are mourning the loss of two staff nurses, a pilot, and a patient.

The helicopter and its crew were based at Johnston Regional Airport, aiport officals said.

“Our county’s leadership joins many others around the region and the state in expressing our great shock and sadness over today’s tragedy,” said Jeff Carver, chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “Our hearts, minds and prayers are with the families of those who were on board the Duke Life Flight aircraft, and we offer them our condolences and support in the difficult days, weeks and months ahead.”

To honor the deceased, Duke University lowered their flags Friday evening.

Duke University Hospital has grounded their Life Flight service until further notice.

Duke has a fleet of aircraft to transport patients in need of critical care.

The sheriff’s office has yet to release the names of those involved or how the crash occurred.

However, Sheriff Shelby White said an eyewitness claims they saw smoke coming out of the chopper as it was hovering before it crashed.

4 dead after a Duke Life Flight helicopter crashes in eastern NC

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Troy Gentry killed in Medford helicopter crash

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 07:47

MEDFORD – One half of a popular country music duo was killed in a helicopter crash here Friday afternoon.

Troy Gentry, of the band Montgomery Gentry, died when the helicopter in which he was a passenger crashed at the Flying W Airport just south of the runway, police said. 

The pilot of the helicopter, 30-year-old James Evan Robinson of Medford, also was killed.

The aircraft went down around 12:37 p.m. The band had been set to perform Friday evening at the airport, which also houses a resort.

Gentry’s singing partner, Eddie Montgomery, was at the airport waiting for him to arrive when the helicopter crashed, police said.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm that Troy Gentry … was tragically killed in a helicopter crash,” the band reported on their verified Twitter account about 4 p.m.

Vocalists Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, both Kentucky natives, began performing with other bands in the 1990s before forming Montgomery Gentry in 1999. The band has collaborated with Charlie Daniels, Toby Keith, Five for Fighting, and members of The Allman Brothers Band.

They recorded six albums for the Nashville Division of Columbia Records that produced 20 chart singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including the No. 1 hits “If You Ever Stop Loving Me”, “Something to Be Proud Of”, “Lucky Man”, “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll with Me.” Other songs have been hits in the top 10 on country charts.

In 2009 they were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. The Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association both named them Duo of the Year in 2000. Every year since they have been nominated for that award by both associations.

In 2013, in an interview with the Des Moines Register, the singers said that after nearly 20 years together, they were still having fun.

“I reckon we’re like a married couple, sort of,” Montgomery said. “You hear horror stories all the time about duos, but we’ve always just been friends having fun and making music.”

Medford Police Chief Richard Meder said officers were called to the airport at 12:40 p.m. for reports of a helicopter having difficulty in the air.

The flight had taken off from the airport and was attempting return, police said.

“We were there within a minute, but shortly after our arrival, the helicopter went down short of the runway in a wooded and swampy area,” the chief said.

“We were able to extricate one of those passengers and transported him to Virtua (Marlton Hospital), where he was later pronounced dead. The passenger was later identified as Troy Gentry.”

Robinson, the pilot died at the scene, and rescue crews worked for hours to remove his body from the mangled wreckage. Robinson, a helicopter pilot at the Flying W’s flight school, recently moved to Medford and originally was from Meigs, Ga., police said.

Meder said Montgomery had been at the airport, waiting for Gentry’s arrival, when the accident occurred. “There were witnesses there who were able to identify” Gentry, the chief said.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the Schweitzer 269 “crashed in a wooded area off the end of runway 1.” Arlene Salac said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

The helicopter was registered with Helicopter Flight Services, which is based at the airport. A message seeking comment was not immediately returned.

A person who answered a phone at Flying W, which straddles Medford and Lumberton townships, said the airport did not plan to make a comment on the crash.

News of Gentry’s death reverberated throughout the country music community.

Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and the Grand Ole Opry both tweeted that they were “heartbroken.” Shooter Jennings called Gentry a friend, saying: “I had great times with him. I’m stunned, angry and upset at the moment. I’ll miss you.”

Gentry was a fan of Kentucky basketball and was dedicated to his wife, Angie, and their daughter, Kaylee. But the duo’s longtime publicist, Craig Campbell, said what defined Gentry professionally is his admiration for country music fans.

“One of the greatest things about those guys is he and (Eddie Montgomery) loved their fans,” Campbell explained. “Everybody says that, but everything they did was for their fans.”

Blake Chancey, former senior vice president of A&R at Sony Music, signed Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery to a record deal in 1998 after seeing them play at the Grapevine in Lexington.

“The club was filled with friends and family the night I went to see them,” Chancey recalls. “After the first song, the whole club turned around and looked at me — like they were staring holes through me. I was scared to death. I had to sign them so I could get out of there alive,” he joked.

“I love those guys,” he continued. “I’m beyond words. … My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone.”

Gentry’s recent years were marked with loss and struggle. In 2014, he grieved the death of his brother, Keith. Their father, Lloyd Gentry, died Aug. 13 of this year.

Two years ago, the 19-year-old son of Eddie Montgomery died suddenly in an unspecified accident.

Gentry was also by Montgomery’s side as he battled prostate cancer in 2010. That experience gave him insight and courage a few years later when his wife, Angie McClure Gentry, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was eventually declared cancer-free in 2015.

“Angie and I are pretty deeply faithful people,” he told The Tennessean that year.

There were career setbacks, as well. Gentry’s image never fully recovered after a 2004 hunting incident, in which he used a bow and arrow to kill a captive bear in a 3-acre private enclosure. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge. In 2010, he faced a new round of criticism after an animal-rights group posted video of the incident. In a public statement, Gentry apologized for “the unethical way the bear was taken.”

“I have learned my lesson, and have paid a huge price, both personally and professionally. Since this happened, I know in my heart that I am a different and better person.”

That same year, Montgomery Gentry was recognized for their charitable work by the Academy of Country Music. They earned the organization’s humanitarian award for their work with the U.S. military, the T.J. Martell Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee and St. Jude’s Research Hospital, among others.

The duo’s most recent album, “Folks Like Us,” was released in 2015. Last year they re-signed with former label Average Joes Entertainment with immediate plans to work on new music.

The Tennessean contributed to this report.

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/south-jersey/2017/09/08/helicopter-crashes-lumberton-airport/646542001/

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