Local News

Firefighter killed, another injured after fire truck overturns in Franklin Co.

Posted September 16, 2014
Updated September 17, 2014

— A firefighter was killed and another was injured Tuesday afternoon after the fire truck they were in overturned in Franklin County.

Franklin County Sheriff Jerry Jones said the tanker truck was headed to a fire alarm call in Louisburg's Lake Royale community at around 5 p.m. when it overturned on a slight curve on Sykes Road and hit a culvert.

"The way the water was shifting, once it starts, there's no coming back," Jones said.

The truck was carrying 2,500 gallons of water. The firefighters, John Derek Gupton and Kyle Horton, were from the Justice Rural Volunteer Fire Department near Louisburg. The cab they were sitting in was flattened by the impact.

Other firefighters on the way to the fire alarm came across the wreck first.

Gupton, who was driving, died, and Horton was treated and released from a local hospital, Jones said.

The entire department, and the small community it serves, is devastated, Jones said.

"(We lost) a friend, a neighbor, someone we probably ate lunch with on Sunday," he said. "We started a normal day this morning, and now we are planning a ceremony for a death."

Excessive speed does not appear to be a factor in the crash, Jones said.

The fire alarm that the firefighters were responding was a stove fire, authorities said.


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  • Edward Levy Sep 17, 2014
    user avatar

    The best I can say, RIP brave volunteer, John Guptonand a speedy recovery to the injured brave volunteer Kyle Horton. We feel your pain, especially since our daughter is Captain & our Son in-law is Bt Ch in NJ Fire Dept(volunteers fro over 20 years) Also at WTC 9/11

  • SouthernBornSouthernBred Sep 17, 2014

    When the article is about John dying and Kyle being hurt and not about training and comments are made about training, driving, etc. then yes it is directed toward them. I'll stay in the country and you stay in the city because we will never agree on this subject of him being disrespected.

  • ytb781pearl Sep 17, 2014

    Condolences to this young's man family, friends, and the firefighter community.

    At this time, it is not my place, or anyone's, to question his abilities. I'm sure his leaders believed this young man competent or he would not have been in the situation that ended his life. Accidents happen everyday. If anything should be questioned, it should be the false alarm as that is the real cause of death. So very sad. In my eyes, he died a hero. There aren't many who risk their lives daily to save others.

  • curiousgeorgia Sep 17, 2014

    How dreadfully sad. My heart aches for them.

  • rmsmith Sep 17, 2014

    PTRRK, tanker starts at $280K and more just for the truck

  • SouthernBornSouthernBred Sep 17, 2014

    Wow my comments were deleted.....how about freedom of speech? Delete those comments of the ones defending the deceased and leave all the mean ones up.....way to go WRAL

  • ptrrrk1 Sep 17, 2014

    How much does a truck like that cost?

  • Gene Parsons Sep 17, 2014
    user avatar

    For "Shaking my head in amusement" and "BTNEAST" I have been in Fire Protection both Volunteer and Paid since 1974, and I am NOT blowing my horn! I have lost 6 friends and one immediate family member working active fires. We have an AMERICAN Flag in our house given to us by the Fallen Fire Fighters Association for our loss. I know the loss, but I also know the system. In North Carolina in the last ten years more young men, mostly volunteers, that have been killed in accidents going to the fire than fighting active fires. THERE IS A PROBLEM AND IT'S A REACCURING PROBLEM! One firefighter lost is one too many. For "BTNEAST" In reference to the N.C. SHP training course being high speed, You don't have to drive the course at high speed! I talking taking curves on dry and wet pavement with half loaded and fully loaded truck with sloshing water and a high center of gravity things that most people on the site know nothing about.

  • btneast Sep 17, 2014

    So instead of praying for the family you all choose to question the training of such volunteers. You ASSUME that because someone questions the training or procedures that they can't be concerned and be praying for the family? Like I mentioned before, a public news forum is NOT a place for the family or friends to be reading right now. No one can stop this kind of speculation and discussion....its foolish to think you can.

  • Paladin2 Sep 17, 2014

    Well said.