Firefighter dies during training exercise
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida firefighter has lost his life in a fatal fall.
According to Pompano Beach Fire Rescue, 50-year-old Pompano Beach firefighter William Elliot was on top of a 90-foot-high ladder when he fell to the ground below at Fire Station 61, located at 2121 NW 3 Ave., at around 4 p.m. Friday. A second firefighter was near the middle of the ladder at the time.
Authorities are not sure what caused Elliot to fall. "He was doing everything he was supposed to do," said Pompano Beach Fire Rescue Chief Harry Small. "It just happened in a flash, and he was gone."
Chief Small said that all safety precautions were followed. "They wear harnesses, but when you're moving up and down the ladder, you have to disengage, so he was hooked in, and unhooked to come down, and that's where something happened," he said.
Elliot was taken to North Broward Medical Center, but he did not survive the fall. His fellow firefighters arrived at the hospital and comforted themselves upon receiving the news of his death. "It was always a pleasure to work with him, and as one of his officers, going into work on a day that he was there, you knew you were going to have a safe day," said Pompano Beach Fire Rescue Lt. Joe Rogers. "It takes your heart and soul, and one man just left his."
The 50-year-old had been with the Pompano Beach Fire Rescue Department since 1989, and his death was the first on-duty death in his department's history. Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher said, "This is the first ever, in the Pompano Beach Fire Department, where we've lost a life on duty."
"It's a death in our family," Small said, "and we're suffering right now. It's tough."
City officials will begin to plan funeral services for Elliot, Saturday morning. They say their biggest challenge will be to find a place large enough to accommodate the many people who are expected to attend the funeral.
Elliot is survived by his parents and siblings.
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