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Hundreds gather to mourn Kenly firefighter who died after heart attack

Posted May 12

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— Hundreds of mourners gathered at Kenly Funeral Home Thursday morning to remember John Morris Davis Jr., a volunteer firefighter who died Saturday night when he suffered a heart attack while responding to a call.

Davis was on his way to assist authorities with an overturned vehicle on Princeton Kenly Road when he began experiencing chest pains. The 45-year-old was taken to a local hospital, where he died, authorities said.

Assistant Fire Chief Tim Little said Davis joined the Kenly Fire Department in 2003, moved away for a while, and recently came back as a volunteer firefighter. Little said Davis was so dedicated to service that he would come in to help on days he wasn't expected.

"He just loved doing the job and helping people in the community and anything he was asked to do, he did it without complaint and with love for everybody in the fire department and throughout this community," Little said.

Various fire departments from across the state are filling in so that Kenly firefighters can have the time to grieve. After Thursday's funeral, a procession of 60 fire trucks and emergency vehicles escorted Davis' body past the Kenly Fire Department to the cemetery. He was carried on Engine 1.

"It is a sad day for our department, but it is also uplifting to see the support we are getting," Little said.

Capt. Mark Knox described the bond firefighters share as a brother or sisterhood.

"We are all family. I know people say that a lot, but it is the truth," he said. "When one of us is hurt, injured or suffering, everybody pulls together."

Sarah Killette said she did not know Davis, but wanted to attend to thank him for his service.

"I want to cry," she said. "It just shows so much respect and honor for this loved one who is gone."

Davis is survived by his wife, three children, a brother and a half-brother.

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