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Cary firefighter dies after being found unresponsive

Posted December 20, 2013
Updated December 21, 2013

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— A Cary firefighter died Wednesday reportedly from a heart attack, after being found unresponsive in his home, close friends told WRAL. 

According to FireNews.net, a news source for firefighters, Capt. Jon Schondelmayer, 44, with Station 1, died at his home after he fell ill at Swift Creek Fire Department on Tryon Road. 

He called for medical help after going home to get medication, but responders found his unresponsive and could not revive him, the website reported.

Schondelmayer had reported to Swift Creek, where he volunteered, after working his normal shift with the Cary department, officials said.

Fire Chief Loren Cone said Schondelmayer had an infectious personality. 

"He was a loud, loving guy," Cone said. "You knew when he was close, he would just wrap you up in his being every time he got close." 

Capt. Rich Moore said he still remembers his first day at the station as a paid firefighter.

"Our shorts back then had buttons on the back and mine wasn't buttoned, and the next thing I know the button was rolling across the floor because Jon cut it off," Moore said.  A firetruck outside of Station 1 in Cary Station 1 remembers fallen Cary firefighter

The team at Station 1 said getting the job done is how they plan to honor the memory of Schondelmayer. 

"It's what we do. We show up, we got the job done, the pager goes off, people still need our help, we have to get that done," said Capt. Joey Smith. 

Schondelmayer had been with the Cary Fire Department for 19 years. He also worked part-time at the Swift Creek Fire Station. 

"He had a heart as big as a firetruck," Cone said. 

A visitation is planned for Sunday at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home in Cary. Schondelmayer's funeral service will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at Colonial Baptist Church on Tryon Road. 

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  • threeangelsmom Dec 23, 2013

    Thoughts and prayers going out to the family of Jon today, as well as to the Fire Department family he leaves behind.