‘A true public servant:’ Missing N.C. firefighter, 31, found dead on Christmas Day
Matthew Scott Hall was a career firefighter with the Summerfield FD and served as an assistant chief with the Madison-Rockingham Rescue Squad
By Simone Jasper
The Charlotte Observer
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Matthew Scott Hall was a “true public servant” with a passion for training fellow first responders in North Carolina.
But the beloved 31-year-old firefighter was found dead on Christmas Day, devastating several Greensboro-area fire departments.
“He was a true friend with a servant’s heart,” the Summerfield Fire District wrote on Facebook.
Hall was a “career firefighter” with the Summerfield department and also served as an assistant chief with the Madison-Rockingham Rescue Squad. But over the weekend, officials became concerned when he went missing.
“After he didn’t report to work … you just know something terrible had happened,” Rusty Gray, retired chief of the department, told WGHP.
Hall was last seen at about midnight on Dec. 23. Then around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 25, a driver reported finding the firefighter’s Chevrolet truck crashed in a ravine.
Hall died at the scene of the crash. He had been driving on Bethany Road in Rockingham County when he veered off the road for an unknown reason, the N.C. State Highway Patrol said in a news release.
“Hall crossed the center line, traveled off the roadway to the left down an embankment, and struck a tree,” troopers wrote, adding that speed wasn’t believed to have played a role.
Part of Bethany Road, located about 20 miles north of Greensboro, was closed for about four hours as officials investigated the deadly crash.
“We have lost a brother and friend today,” the Summerfield Fire District wrote in its Dec. 25 Facebook post. “Our hearts are heavy. Engineer Matt Hall was a career member with us and he will be sorely missed.”
Dozens of people took to Facebook to write tributes to Hall, who made his mark on several fire departments. He also taught at Rockingham and Forsyth Technical community colleges, according to an obituary posted on the Ray Funeral Home website.
“If he could teach, he would teach,” friend Hunter Byrd told WFMY. “He was also the type of guy if you were having a bad day, he wasn’t going to allow that; he was always going to cheer you up and make sure that you were having as much fun as he was.”
Hall, who lived in the town of Madison, also is remembered in news reports as a man who became involved in firefighting at an early age and tried to pass his knowledge to others.
“Matthew was a true public servant with a heart for training,” Walnut Cove Volunteer Fire & Rescue, where Hall worked part-time for seven years, wrote on Facebook.