When tragedy strikes, how quickly we are reminded about the true sacrifice of community service.
Thursday’s call for a house fire in Coal Township was “routine” throughout — as much as the destruction of someone’s home can be “routine” — until fire crews were tending to some final work before clearing the scene.
That’s when word of an unresponsive firefighter was dispatched. A short time later, Coal Township Fire Department had lost one of its own, East End Fire Co. Capt. Scott Dannheimer. He suffered a heart attack and, despite immediate care from trained emergency responders, he would pass away shortly thereafter.
• • •
The 53-year-old Shamokin husband, father and grandfather was a longtime volunteer firefighter with the East End. He had also been a member of Maine Fire Co. and Sunbury Fire Department and was active with local fire police.
Beyond that loyal service, Dannheimer was credited by Coal Township Board of Commissioners Chairman Craig Fetterman with being a driving factor in the company getting a new firetruck in October 2017.
That level of service speaks volumes about the role of volunteer firefighters. Not only do they answer to emergency calls, they devote additional time to ensuring local fire stations have the equipment they need to adequately serve the public.
It’s not surprising, then, that the governor has ordered flags to half-staff and organizations such as the Office of the State Fire Commissioner have offered their condolences in the wake of Dannheimer’s death. The firefighting community at-large knows all too well the sacrifice, and sometimes ultimate sacrifice, of service.
• • •
Dannheimer was the first Coal Township firefighter to die in the line of duty since Nov. 2, 2002, when Timothy A. DiOrio, a Maine Fire Co. volunteer and a state trooper, died in a structural collapse while battling a fire in Trevorton.
There is no doubt Dannheimer’s service will be forever memorialized, as DiOrio’s has faithfully been, by his firefighting brethren in Coal Township and neighboring communities.
With that, we join in saluting Capt. Scott Dannheimer for his service to the community, and offer condolences and prayers for his family.
As a sign at the East End on Friday showed, “Last call. 12-20-2018.”