Chief Ivers, of the Concord – Greene Township Volunteer Fire Department in Ohio
responded to a reported barn fire. Upon arrival on scene, it was determined that the fire was actually a controlled burn of brush and other agricultural products that had not been reported to the Sheriff’s Office. The owner was advised of the burn laws and allowed to continue the burn. While returning to the station, Chief Ivers experienced a medical emergency and pulled off to the side of the road. The apparatus following him pulled off to the side of the road to assist him and request EMS. Care was initiated and he was transported to the local hospital and then flown to a larger hospital where he later passed away for cause still to be determined by the Franklin County Coroner.
Nacogdoches (Texas) firefighters are mourning the loss of a devoted team member after Captain Joe Ed Ivy, 51, died suddenly early Saturday morning from a possible heart attack.
The local brotherhood of firefighters remembered him as one of the toughest and most loved public servants in the city, a dependable traditionalist who spent 33 years in the Nacogdoches Fire Department.
Ivy died at about 2 a.m. Saturday at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster, near Houston, where he and four other captains were attending a high-rise fire training session. As captain of a ladder truck at Fire Station 1 on North Street, Ivy was training to lead firefighters into blazes that could occur at local university buildings and industrial structures.
After feeling poorly, Ivy passed out about 1:30 a.m. His co-workers attempted CPR and rushed him to the hospital, according to NPD Chief Keith Kiplinger.
“He was traditional old school,” said Terry Westmoreland, Ivy’s cousin and Nacogdoches fire marshal, ” … the kind who came up with a lot of honor, a man’s man who liked to work hard.”
A burly man with a handlebar moustache, Ivy joined NFD in 1973, and he rose in the ranks to become a driver and lieutenant, a position now called captain. Growing up in Cushing, he was a “phenomenal athlete,” Westmoreland said, able to dunk a basketball from a flat-footed jump and a dominant hurdler on the track team.
Ivy was “sharp as a tack” and enjoyed crosswords puzzles and Western novels, Westmoreland said, and he was a “real cowboy,” running cattle until his age caught up with him.
Along with Westmoreland, Ivy’s brother, Danny, and his cousin, Ricky, also worked for NFD.
“That’s normal for the fire service. It’s common for families to get it in the blood,” said Kiplinger, who worked under Ivy in the early 1990s.
In a career that involved a great amount of trust between co-workers, Ivy inspired others. His reputation as a leader and an able firefighter made him stand out to the rookies.
Even as he aged, Ivy’s athleticism allowed him to outwork younger firefighters, according to Dewayne Sims, a three-year NFD veteran and president of the Nacogdoches Professional Firefighters Association.
“Ed was, of course, a veteran, and it was almost like hero-worship for the guys who had just been hired on,” Sims said.
“Everybody always knew what Ed was capable of doing. He was concrete,” he said.
His greatest skill was leading others into a burning building. People followed and trusted him, Westmoreland said.
Ivy leaves behind a daughter, Molly, and a son, Blake, a student at SFA, as well as his brothers, Danny and Jay.
“The bottom line is that when you think of a professional firefighter from the ground up, you think of this guy strong as a bull, not afraid of anything, looked out for others,” Westmoreland said.
Two NFD captains will remain with Ivy’s body until he is buried Tuesday, when all 60 NFD firefighters will attend the funeral at Fredonia Hill Baptist Church. Other firefighters from across East Texas will staff the city’s fire stations that day, and a Nacogdoches Police Department officer will accompany each out-of-town group to emergency calls.
“We all try to help each other out so our guys have a chance to mourn,” Kiplinger said.