Members of the Vergennes Volunteer Fire Dept. are mourning one of their own this weekend. Michael Fox, 37, a firefighter and first responder, suffered a fatal heart attack early Friday morning on his way to an emergency call.
While friends and family deal with the shock of losing a loved one so unexpectedly, several people have said they have found some comfort knowing Fox died doing what he loved best. Mark Wilson, assistant fire chief for Vergennes and a Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy, said Fox was on his way to a call on Chamness Road in rural Vergennes when he began to have problems breathing. The first responder with him urged him to forget about the call and go to the hospital himself, Wilson said.
Fox pulled over to the side of the road and slumped over the steering wheel. His fellow emergency responder began CPR, and an ambulance rushed to the scene.
Fox was pronounced dead that morning in St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro.
“He died doing what he loved,” said Mark Wisely, secretary for the fire department. “Every time the tones (on the pager) went out, he was there.” “I always told people if all my firefighters had hearts as big as Michael’s, I would have the picture-perfect fire department,” Wilson said.
Wilson said Fox always drove the support van, so-called because it carried extra medical equipment and went out on nearly every call. The support van will carry Fox’s casket, said Wilson, who has been in close contact with the family. “I’m wanting to see an overwhelming response for his funeral,” Wilson said. Fox joined the fire department when he was only 17 years old.
Visitation is from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday and at 11 a.m. Monday at Pettett Funeral Home, 1418 South St. in Murphysboro. The funeral service will be after visitation. Burial will be at the Murdale Gardens of Memory.