Chief: W.Va. FF-medic's on-duty death caused by accidental overdose at station

Charleston Fire Chief Jeff Jackson said the department will work to provide more support for its members after the death of Firefighter-Paramedic Jason Cuffee

By Laura French

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An on-duty West Virginia firefighter-paramedic who died at the station last month died due to an accidental overdose, officials announced Tuesday. 

Charleston Fire Chief Jeff Jackson said during a news conference that a medical examiner confirmed to him late Monday that an overdose caused the death of Firefighter-Paramedic Jason Cuffee, 27, on July 20, according to WVAH

"To say we are heartbroken is an understatement," Jackson said during the news conference. "As first responders, we deal with death daily, but when it's one of your brothers, it's a whole different ballgame." 

Charleston Police Chief James Hunt said his department will conduct a criminal investigation to determined who supplied Cuffee with the drugs that caused his death. Fentanyl and xylazine were found in Cuffee's system, Hunt said. 

Charleston Fire Department Lt. David Hodges said there was no breach of the fire department's controlled substances vaults and that the drugs involved did not come from the city. 

Jackson added that the fire department welcomes the police investigation and that the department will take steps to provide more support to firefighters. 

"We must do better; we must do better for Jason," Jackson said during the news conference. 

City of Charleston News Conference

Live coverage of a city of Charleston news conference, where officials will discuss an investigation is underway.

Posted by WCHS & WVAH TV on Tuesday, August 18, 2020


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