Ill. firefighter of 5 days dies after crash en route to call

Mehdi Mourad, 21, was responding in his personal vehicle when he lost control of his vehicle and rear-ended an SUV stopped on the side of the road


By Rachel Engel

MATTOON, Ill. — A firefighter died from injuries he sustained in a crash while en route to a call in his personal vehicle.

Mehdi Mourad, 21, had officially joined the Wabash Fire Protection District as a volunteer five days earlier, and was responding to only his second call for service at the time of the crash.

Mehdi Mourad, 21, had officially joined the Wabash Fire Protection District as a volunteer five days earlier, and was responding to only his second call for service at the time of the crash.
Mehdi Mourad, 21, had officially joined the Wabash Fire Protection District as a volunteer five days earlier, and was responding to only his second call for service at the time of the crash. (Photo/Wabash Fire Protection District)

While en route to the call, Mourad lost control of the vehicle he was driving, and crashed into an SUV whose driver had pulled over due to severe weather. Mourad required extrication before first responders could remove him from his car, and was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.

“We are saddened to announce the passing of one of our firemen last night,” the department said in a post on social media. “Please keep his family, friends, and our department in your thoughts and prayers during this unimaginable time.”

Mourad was originally from Morocco and was attending a local college on a student visa. Gary Kepley, WFPD safety officer, said Mourad’s enthusiasm for the fire service was evident.

“He had relayed to his family how excited he was to be on the fire department. He was going to be a great asset to this department, we could tell,” Kepley said. “He just had a passion to get on a fire department and that young man showed up here, not knowing any of us, and asked if he could apply, which says a lot about his character to walk into the unknown.”

Mourad also worked part-time as a student assistant to the Lake Land College Police Department.

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