FACTORYVILLE – Factoryville’s Fire Department is mourning the loss of the Assistant Fire Chief, Russell Gow, 58.
The Lackawanna County Coroner’s autopsy revealed late Thursday afternoon that Gow died from a heart attack he had while responding to a call. Community members in Factoryville are now remembering Gow as not just their Assistant Fire Chief, but an EMT, father and grandfather, and an all-around great guy.
A single red carnation sits on Assistant Fire Chief Russell Gow’s pickup truck outside the Factoryville Fire Station. The volunteer never returned from an overnight call.
"He was the town of Factoryville, I mean he was, he was a good man,” said Carol Lang of Factoryville.
State Police said Gow was running a tanker truck at an overnight fire in Wyoming County only a few doors down from the Factoryville Fire Station. He collapsed and was taken to the hospital where he later died.
Wanda Schofield of Factoryville said Gow didn’t just volunteer there, he was an EMT and so much more.
"He has a son he idolized, he has a grandson. He was just a good guy all around,” said Schofield.
Gow’s fellow brothers draped black bunting at the Number Nine Station hours later and placed his turnout gear and boots outside. Volunteers said Gow was dedicated to the department and teaching others.
"Fire prevention, that was Russ's thing, educating kids on how to get out of a fire, what to do if they should see a fire,” said Schofield.
Rhonda Detrick of Factoryville stopped by with flowers to support the Fire Chief who is Gow’s son and other volunteers.
"They've been our support system whenever we've needed help so now they're calling upon us to be there for them, and that's what we're going to do,” said Detrick.
Detrick said Gow took her autistic son under his wing and was encouraging him to become a firefighter as well.
"He just saw him as another person he could teach good things to, and that meant a lot to me," said Detrick.
Now Factoryville tries to find comfort in knowing Gow died doing the job he dedicated his life to.
"He died doing what he loved, that was his life, he loved it,” said Lang.
Volunteers said Gow was supposed to take over as chief at the beginning of next year. There is no word yet on where or when funeral services will be held.
This is the second volunteer firefighter Factoryville has lost this year. J.J. Lomax was killed last June when he stopped to assist at a crash and was electrocuted.