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Fla. firefighter/paramedic dies in off-duty crash

Firefighter/paramedic Brian Herr joined the department in March 2023 after relocating to Florida from Chicago


“Firefighter/Paramedic Herr was an outstanding member of this department,” said Fire Chief Hezedean A. Smith, D.M.

Polk County Fire Rescue

By Sarah Roebuck

DAVENPORT, Fla. — A firefighter/paramedic with Polk County Fire Rescue died in an off-duty crash, FOX13 reports.

Brian Herr joined the department in March 2023 after relocating to Florida from Chicago.

“We are all grieving at the loss of Firefighter/Paramedic Heer who was just starting out on his career with Polk County Fire Rescue. Firefighter/Paramedic Herr was an outstanding member of this department. His teamwork and positive attitude shined tremendously during his short time with Polk County Fire Rescue. He will be greatly missed. Please keep his family and friends in your prayers,” Fire Chief Hezedean A. Smith, D.M. told FOX13.

According to Polk County Fire Rescue, Herr was the first in his family to serve in the fire department. He leaves behind two sons and his mother.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the single-car crash happened shortly before 6 a.m. on Saturday between U.S. Highway 27 and Old Grade Road in Polk City. Upon arrival, deputies and the Polk County Fire Rescue found a 2007 gray Toyota Camry engulfed in flames.

Authorities confirmed that Herr, who did not survive the incident, was found inside the vehicle after the fire was extinguished.

According to PCSO, Herr was driving westward in the inside lane of I-4 and started to shift into the middle lane simultaneously with an unidentified vehicle that was also transitioning from the outside lane.

Based on evidence and witness accounts, Herr and an unknown vehicle swerved back into their original lanes without collision. Authorities report that Herr’s car then started hydroplaning and spinning, eventually hitting a cluster of trees in the interstate’s center grass median with its passenger side. Investigators say the Toyota was instantly consumed by flames.

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