Fiancee Mourns Loss Of Firefighter Killed In Line Of Duty
Posted July 14, 2005 5:45 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — An Eastern Wake firefighter who died in the line of duty early Thursday morning is being remembered by his fellow firefighters and fiancée.
Todd Blanchard and two other firefighters responded to the scene of a fire at about 12:42 a.m. after a report that a tree was still smoldering from a previous fire. As they walked toward the tree, a limb estimated to be 2.5 feet in diameter broke and fell, hitting Blanchard.
The two firefighters began CPR when they found that Blanchard's breathing and heart had stopped. Paramedics arrived at the scene and took Blanchard to WakeMed, but he later died at the hospital.
Blanchard, who is survived by his parents, two young daughters and his fiancée, had worked as a full-time firefighter for Eastern Wake Fire Department for approximately two years. He came to Eastern Wake Fire Department from the Garner Fire Department.
"There was nothing else in the world he would ever want to do," said Blanchard's fiancée, Allison Miller. "He loved his job."
The couple had been planning to get married in October.
"We were gonna get married in three months, and now I'm not going to be able to do that," Miller said. "I already miss him and I love him and I know he loved me."
Miller, a Garner paramedic, was on duty, listening to the emergency radio, when she heard her fiancée called out to the tree fire. She called to tell him to be careful, but the phone just rang.
"Then, 30 minutes later, I hear them say they need an ambulance, that they had a firefighter down," Miller said. "And I knew right then and there -- the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up -- because he was the only one not talking on the radio. So, I knew it was him."
Things were quiet Thursday at Blanchard's fire station, where flags flew at half-staff as fellow firefighters mourned their loss. They plan to mourn thand celebrate Blanchard's life at the station this weekend.
But the loss is much greater for Miller.
"It took me 31 years to find a man who loved me for who I am," she said. "I'll never find anybody else that loved me like he loved me."