Washington County volunteer firefighter dies after returning home from crash scene

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. — A Washington County volunteer firefighter and fire police captain died Saturday after responding to a vehicle crash.

Laron Holcomb, 73, of Ellsworth, responded with the Ellsworth Fire Department to a vehicle crash on Route 136 at Morrison Lane in Eighty Four shortly before 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

According to the Washington County Coroner’s Office, after Holcomb left the accident scene, he returned home where he experienced shortness of breath. He was taken to Washington Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:21 p.m.

The cause and manner of death are pending autopsy results, according to coroner’s office.

Members of the Ellsworth Fire Department said Holcomb worked tirelessly day and night going on calls. The longtime firefighter spent decades responding to calls and his fellow firefighters said he almost never missed one.

“He was a good man to have around,” Ellsworth Fire Police Deputy Chief Randy Adamson said.

“Pretty much every call we had, he was there for us,” Ellsworth Fire chief Craid Pysh said.

The only time Holcomb wouldn’t respond was if lightning was in the area.

“He could go to any call night day rain shine, but if there was a thunderstorm with lightning he wouldn’t get out, he got struck by lightning two times,” Adamson said.

After responding Saturday, Holcomb started experiencing chest pains on his way home. His friends and medics came to his aid before the ambulance arrived. Holcomb showed strength even in his last moments, walking out to the ambulance.

Fellow firefighters described Holcomb as a man who dedicated his life to service, even moving directly in front of the fire station, so he could be ready to go.

“That’s what he wanted to do his whole life is give back to everybody and that’s what all our members will remember him by,” Adamson said.

Officials are working on a firefighter’s memorial for Holcomb, which will tentatively be at Bentworth High School.

Governor Tom Wolf ordered the commonwealth flag on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings and grounds in Washington County to fly at half-staff to Holcomb.

The commonwealth flag shall be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Friday, Sept. 10. The United States flag is to remain at full staff.