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Hundreds gather to say goodbye to fallen firefighter


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Hundreds of firefighters from across our area came together Saturday to pay tribute to New Hanover County Fire Rescue Capt. David Heath.

Heath died from an apparent heart attack while participating in a training exercise last week and now his family and fellow firefighters are left to carry on his legacy.

“David was passionate about the fire service and also passionate about training,” Battalion Chief Jennifer Smith said.

Heath was more than just a firefighter; he was a brother to the men and women on the force.

“He was a great individual. He was always enthusiastic and excited about training,” Smith said.

On Saturday, hundreds of firefighters from across the Cape Fear came to pay their respects to the man who always lived life to the fullest.

“David was an important part of our family and we loved him very much. We miss him, but we know he is resting in a better place now,” Deputy Chief Matt Davis said.

Recruiting firefighters was something his family says he lived for.

“His real passion was when he was able to train firefighters. He loved his job and loved his firefighter family,” said Davis.

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I've always admired soldiers, because they sacrifice so much and are at the diposal of a politician whose likely never been in their shoes. Now I admire my former colleagues equally. For they are bound by the same type of leadership as our military heroes.

I wonder how outside agencies viewed NHCFRS in that not one command staff personnel spoke at the funeral. If you'd been anywhere else, you'd know the importance of having your Chief (boss) say a few words. Unless it were HIS wishes & that wouldn't surprise me..


The facts

No one should view the command staff of New Hanover County Fire badly for not speaking at the service. The comment made was done so out of ignorance of the facts. There were several reasons that they didn't speak, none of which were because he didn't want them to or they didn't want to. Matter of fact, Chief Hall spoke at the service in Concord and presented the family with a helmet at the service here in Wilmington. The admin spent numerous hours and went without sleep to make sure the service was perfect....and it was. For the record, I am not in County Fire....but I know what I'm talking about. Instead of bashing anyone else, we should focus on Capt Heath's memory. He would want it that way.