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Firefighter Dies During Training

Firefighter Dies During Training

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The Philadelphia Daily News via YellowBrix

May 02, 2010

SOMERSET, PA – A Somerset County fire department is mourning the loss of a firefighter who was rushed to the hospital Saturday afternoon from training.

Scalp Level & Paint Volunteer Fire Co. President Dennis Berkey said John Palomino was taken to Miners Medical Center in Hastings where he died.

“He was a really good member,” Berkey said.

Berkey said Palomino, who is in his late 40s, was taking the basic essentials firefighting class at the Cambria County Fire School with his brother and some other fire department members.

“He and his brother moved here recently and joined the fire company,” Berkey said.

Pete Long, first deputy Cambria County Coroner, said a cause of death will be determined Sunday pending an autopsy. He did not know what Palomino was doing at the time of his medical emergency. The office spent Saturday talking to witnesses.

“We’re still trying to iron all those issues out,” he said. “The details are still kind of sketchy.”

Berkey said Palomino joined the fire department in the fall. The basic essentials class is a requirement for any new member who wants to fight fires, Berkey said. The 166-hour course covers basic firefighting tasks.

“He wanted to do it,” Berkey said. “This was something he wanted to do. Being a fireman and wanting to go.”

Berkey said new fire department members are vetted by a committee according to the fire department bylaws to make sure they are morally and physically able to serve.

After becoming a member, Berkey said Palomino got along with all his fellow firefighters.

“He was well liked,” he said. “The guys really liked him. He will be deeply missed.”

Berkey said Palomino is the first member to die during training or a fire call. The fire department typically attends a viewing and holds a prayer service when a member dies.