On December 25, 2016, at 1421hrs, Station 51 was dispatched to a mutual aid structure fire in a nearby town. Lieutenant Key responded to the station in his privately owned vehicle but the engine had responded prior to his arrival. Lieutenant Key stood-by at the station available to respond to any subsequent calls for service.
At 1617nrs, Station 51 was dispatched to an automatic fire alarm in Whispering Pines. Lieutenant Key immediately responded as the driver of Tanker (tender) 516 with another firefighter. Upon arrival, Tanker 516 and automatic aid units were cancelled by the Fire Chief who had arrived on the scene and confirmed the alarm was accidental and no assistance was needed.
Upon returning to the station in Tanker 516, Lieutenant Key resumed his standing by status, awaiting the return of Engine 511 from the mutual aid structure. At approximately 1730hrs, Engine 511 returned to the station. Lieutenant Key assisted several fellow firefighters with washing Engine 511, cleaning equipment, repacking hose on Engine 511, and ensuring the engine was operationally ready for the next call for service. Lieutenant Key left the station and returned home at approximately 1815hrs.
The next day, December 26, 2016, at approximately 0545hrs, Lieutenant Key became ill and was transported to the hospital. Lieutenant Key died due to a CVA at 1345hrs on December 27, 2016.
Incident Location: 16 Hardee Lane, Whispering Pines, NC 28327 (U.S. National Grid: 17S PV 4832 0292 (DD: 35.258, -79.370))