Firefighters react to unexpected death of beloved McCandless fire marshal

MCCANDLESS, Pa. — “Dan dedicated his entire adult life to this community,” said Shawn O’Brien, Highland Vol. Fire Dept.

The community is mourning the loss of a longtime beloved firefighter, Dan Stack. He unexpectedly passed away last Friday. Channel 11 spoke with firefighters who served alongside Dan for decades. One of his fellow firefighters responded to his home.

PHOTOS: Firefighters remembering beloved Chief Dan Stack after his unexpected death

“I heard the call and I only live two streets away so I rushed over was the first responder on scene and when I went upstairs his son who is a firefighter here was starting the resuscitation efforts. It’s surreal when you walk in and you see it’s one of yours that you’ve known for 35 years, it’s tough, very tough,” said Mark Pierson, former fire chief at Highland Vol. Fire Dept.

Those close to him say Dan was vibrant, energetic and put everyone else’s needs before his own. He used to be the fire marshal for McCandless. As a teenager, he first became a member of the Ingomar volunteer fire department with one of his best friends, Mike Delucia.

“He’s just a good guy, family man kind of guy who would pick up the phone at 2 a.m. without hesitation and he’s there,” said Mike Delucia, Highland Vol. fire dept.

Dan moved up the ranks and was the Ingomar assistant chief then moved over to the Highland Volunteer Fire Department in McCandless where he was a member for 18 years. He also used to be the director of safety and security for North Allegheny School District. So many people looked up to him. He did anything he could to help others.

“When he found out my daughter Clementine needed blood transfusions, he was like, let’s put on a huge blood drive, and we filled up half of Pittsburgh’s blood bank that day. It was the biggest blood drive ever in McCandless because he knew my daughter needed to survive,” said Tim Blackham, Highland Vol. Fire Dept.

Dan was always raising the bar. He had an impact on almost every fire department in the area because he was an instructor at the Allegheny County Fire Academy who taught the newest recruits.

“So, he was dealing with 30 to 60 students a session a year and take a person who didn’t know anything about the fire service to becoming a firefighter,” said Glenn Copec, an Allegheny County Fire Academy Administrator.

“He gave them their first impression of what firefighting was like, taught them the basics and the behaviors, the attitudes and traditions that take firefighters through their entire career, so his legacy will live on,” said O’Brien.

Dan’s son, Riley, is also a firefighter at the same fire department. Last Wednesday, they responded to a structure fire and that was the last time they worked together. The firefighters said the way Dan watched over all of them is how they will watch over his son Riley.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the Stack family. Click here to donate.

A receiving of friends was held on Monday. Family and friends will also be received Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. with a “Last Call Fireman Service” at 7 p.m. at the George A. Thoma Funeral Home. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW

Comments on this article