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Hundreds Honor Fallen Fayetteville Firefighter

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ABERDEEN — Hundreds of emergency workers from as far away as Canada are grieving the loss of one of their own as they lay Fayetteville firefighter David Sharp to rest.

Hundreds of firefighters, police officers and paramedics from Fayetteville and surrounding communities bid the 12-year veteran farewell Tuesday afternoon.

Traffic accidents have been the second-leading cause of death for firefighters since 1993. -->The tragedy happened Friday night. While returning from a false alarm, the ladder truck Sharp was driving was hit by a train. The final accident report says Sharp drove around the crossing gate. His view was obstructed by a train stopped on the tracks.

At his funeral, firefighters stood in the aisles and even outside.

"It's a family," says registered nurse Pam Sands. "We work together closely in 24-hour shifts together, and it's just a family. And in time of need, you need friends and family."

Fayetteville Fire Chief Pete Piner agrees. "We are one big family. The camaraderie we have with one another -- we all rally. When one hurts, we all hurt," he says.

In a touching salute, Sharp's casket was placed on a firetruck and driven underneath ladder trucks on the way to the cemetery. Even in her time of grief, expressed her appreciation.

"Everybody needs support in a situation like this," Rose Tibboel says. "We all worry when they go out, 'Whose husband is it going to be? Is it going to be someone else's?'" -->

The brotherhood continued, even as Sharp's funeral ended. Volunteer firefighters from several departments manned city fire stations so Sharp's friends and co-workers could attend the funeral.

The flags at the fire station where Sharp worked remain at half-staff.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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