USA — Hawkins County firefighters are mourning the loss of 20-year veteran David Schnepp, 43, who died at home Monday morning a few hours after responding to two consecutive emergencies.
At 5:02 p.m. Sunday, Schnepp and the Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department responded to a brush fire on Morning Star Road. At about 9 p.m., CVVFD was dispatched to assist with a residential fire on Route 70-N near Rogersville.
Although Schnepp staged to respond to that fire, he stayed behind at the fire station as backup in case another emergency occurred.
CVVFD Chief Mike Yates said Schnepp worked on a fire truck for the rest of the night and texted another firefighter at about 12:30 a.m. Monday that he was going home.
Yates said Schnepps wife called 911 at about 7 a.m. Monday for medical assistance for Schnepp, who later succumbed to an undetermined medical emergency.
The cause of death wasnt available Monday. Schnepp was taken to the Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City for an autopsy.
Yates said Schnepps death falls within the guidelines of being in the line of duty.
It was within 24 hours of his response to an emergency, and thats within the timeline they use for line-of-duty deaths, Yates said.
Schnepp had been with the Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department for about three years.
Yates said Schnepp had more than 20 years of firefighting experience overall in Hawkins County, having previously served with the Lakeview, Bulls Gap and Striggersville fire departments.
Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency director Gary Murrell told the Times-News that this is Hawkins Countys first death of a firefighter in the line of duty.
Murrell announced Schnepps death at the Hawkins County Commission meeting Monday evening. Commission chaplain Dwight Carter asked that everyone keep Schnepps family and colleagues in their prayers during this difficult time.
Murrell told the commission Monday that funeral arrangements for Schnepp were incomplete and will be announced by Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home.
Schnepp was the second CVVFD firefighter to die in three days.
On Saturday, founding CVVFD member Jack Gregg, 83, died of natural causes. Graveside services are scheduled this morning for Gregg, who was serving as department treasurer at the time of his death.