LODD: Ala. fire chief suffers cardiac arrest on duty
Midfield Fire Chief Donald Jones, 59, was a more than 26-year fire service veteran and a past assistant chief at Birmingham Fire and Rescue
Duty Death: Donald L. Jones - [Midfield, Alabama]
End of Service: 04/21/2021
MIDFIELD, Ala. — The Midfield fire chief died unexpectedly Wednesday while he was on his lunch break.
Chief Donald Jones, 59, collapsed in the 1900 block of Ninth Avenue South in Birmingham shortly before noon.
Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service responded to the location and rushed him to the emergency room where they worked on him extensively but were unable to revive him.
Jones spent his career with Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service, rising to the rank of assistant chief. He retired in 2020 and two weeks later was hired as chief in Midfield.
Midfield Mayor Gary Richardson said Jones was at the fire station this morning, appearing to be in good spirits and in good health.
He left to go to Chick-Fil-A on Birmingham’s Southside to pick up lunch and suffered an apparent fatal heart attack.
“This has hit us all like a ton of bricks,’' Richardson said. “I just laughed and talked with him yesterday.”
The mayor praised Jones for his service and leadership at the fire department. “He was excellent. I was surprised I was able to get him,’' Richardson said. “I have nothing but rave reviews for him.”
Jones spent 26 years - his entire career - at Birmingham before retiring and going to Midfield.
“He was a hard-working person, always willing to learn more,’' said retired BFRS Chief Charles Gordon. “He had a wife and three daughters and a son. They were a close-knit family and he always spoke proudly of them.”
“He’s going to be missed,’' Gordon said.
Midfield Police Chief Jesse Bell said Jones’ death is shock to everyone.
“He was a great guy. I actually learned a lot from him in the short time he was there,’' Bell said. “We talked two or three times a week. He had a big influence on me in that amount of time.”
“He had come in (to the job) and obtained several grants and was working hard to get additional resources for his guys,’' Bell said. “He was a great leader.”
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