Volunteer North Summit firefighter remembered after death as ‘pillar in our community’
A volunteer North Summit Fire District firefighter whose efforts were instrumental in increasing protections in the Tollgate Canyon area, and who others described as a “pillar” of the neighborhood, died Monday, weeks after an off-duty accident left him hospitalized.
Alan Powell suffered serious injuries, including a number of broken bones, when he fell 14 feet from a cherry picker in mid-August, according to a GoFundMe page organized after the accident to pay for his medical care. On Tuesday, his wife, Lisa Powell, notified followers of the GoFundMe page that he had died, likely due to a blood clot.
“The sorrow and pain I feel (losing) my mountain man is indescribable,” Lisa Powell wrote in the post. “I’m devastated and am surrounded with family now. Your donations have helped cover his medical costs and I can’t thank you enough. I read Alan your name days earlier and you all made him feel so very very loved.”
The Fire District addressed Powell’s death in a Facebook post Tuesday.
“The North Summit Fire District has lost one of its own in a tragic off duty accident,” the post stated. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time. Until our friend is laid to rest the North Summit Fire District fire stations will fly our flags at half-staff. Rest In Peace Brother.”
Ian Nelson, who recently became the fire chief in North Summit, said he only knew Powell for a short time — but that was long enough to understand Powell’s commitment to the Fire District and to the community. Nelson credited Powell with being “the driving force” behind the effort several years ago to annex Tollgate Canyon into the North Summit Fire District and the push to build a fire station there.
“Without him, I don’t even know that that would be done right now,” Nelson said, adding that Powell enlisted others in the Tollgate Canyon area to volunteer with the Fire District.
In praising Powell, Nelson said being a volunteer firefighter is a “huge sacrifice” that requires completing dozens of hours of training each year and a willingness to drop everything at a moment’s notice when a blaze begins.
“The amount of dedication I see in the volunteer fire service sometimes surpasses what I see in the professional departments,” Nelson said, adding that he knew Powell to be a “selfless” person.
Others shared fond memories of Powell on the Fire District’s Facebook post.
One woman wrote that he “was such a hero in our own community of Tollgate Canyon” and that “He will be missed, greatly!! He was loved by all the neighbors…” Another person wrote that Powell “was a pillar in our community.”
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