Mass. town fire chief dies from injury at his home
Somerset Fire Chief Scott Jepson, a cancer survivor, died Thursday from an unspecified injury
Jo C. Goode and Staff Reporter
The Herald News, Fall River, Mass.
SOMERSET, Mass. — Well-respected and beloved Somerset Fire Chief Scott Jepson died suddenly on Thursday.
Jepson, 54, of Dighton, was a 27-year veteran, joining the Somerset Fire Department in 1992 and taking over as chief in 2008.
His death was announced by Somerset Deputy Fire Chief Jamison Barros, Police Chief George McNeil and Town Administrator Richard M. Brown in a news release.
Police and fire personnel responded to his home at approximately 1:30 p.m. to find that Jepson had suffered an injury; the release did not specify the nature of the injury.
The fire chief was transported to Charlton Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
While his death is not considered suspicious, the Somerset Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police and the Bristol County District Attorney's office is conducting an investigation, as is policy for any unattended deaths.
"Fire, police and town officials are devastated by the loss of Chief Jepson, a 27-year veteran of the Somerset Fire Department. Our deepest condolences and prayers are with his wife and son," the release indicates.
In 2016 and into 2017, Jepson was out on an extended medical leave as he battled a rare form of cancer called myofibroblastic spindle cell sarcoma. At the time he said it had been a long eight months of treatment, "and it didn't go so well for awhile," and he thanked his family, including wife Angelina and son Ian, and close friends for their support, including retired Somerset fire chief Stephen Rivard, who he succeeded back in 2008, for giving him rides to Boston for treatment, and the Bristol County Fire Chiefs who distributed "Jepson Strong" bracelets to people while he was being treated.
In early 2017, Jepson returned to full-time duty with a new three-year contract and accolades from town officials and fellow firefighters for his work as fire chief.
At the time Jepson signed the new contract, Brown called him a "committed" leader of the department and "scrupulously honest."
Jepson was also credited with his cost-cutting abilities while at the same time, updating the department's equipment.
Fall River Fire Chief John Lynch, and a longtime friend of Jepson, said his men and the firefighter community are devastated by the loss of a man he said was "always upbeat, always smiling."
"He was just a really, really great leader," said Lynch. "He was a strong chief, but very well-liked by all. Well-loved by his men, it was obvious."
Lynch said that a critical incident response team was at Somerset Fire Department headquarters where the firefighters gathered after news of his death circulated.
As well, fire chiefs and former fire chiefs from around the state visited the fire department headquarters, he said.
"This guy was so well respected."
©2020 The Herald News, Fall River, Mass.