Fire Department Aids Family of Fallen Member

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LACKAWAXEN TOWNSHIP -- The Wayne County Coroner released Sunday, that a young firefighter died from breathing in too much smoke after his car crashed near Hawley. 

The fire company that lost one of its own junior members to a deadly crash went ahead with a pig roast and fundraiser in Pike County Saturday night. The department near Hawley plans to donate all the proceeds to the teen's family.

The Forest Volunteer Fire Department in Lackawaxen Township uses the pig roast to raise money. But, on this occasion, firefighters chose to help the family of Jacob Daniels.

The 17-year-old junior firefighter from Hawley died in a crash early Saturday morning.

"As can be imagined, it was very heartbreaking for all of us," said Chief Wayne Rosengrant. "He was an integral part of our department. He was a leader to our other juniors."

A cross and flowers are at the scene of the crash on Long Ridge Road in Palmyra Township. The road near Hawley in Wayne County is where state police say Daniels wrecked the car he was driving. The cause of the wreck is unclear.

His fellow firefighters say Daniels went to fire school and wanted to fight fires for a living.

At the pig roast, Daniels' turnout gear decorated his favorite fire vehicle, the brush truck, and his fire department found a way to help after he's gone. All the money from the pig roast will go to help the Daniels family.

"We didn't want to do it because of how brokenhearted we are," said Chief Rosengrant. "We told the family we'd do the pig roast if profit would help family with burial expenses."

With that in mind, everyone at the pig roast chose to help honor Jacob Daniels and his life by holding the pig roast in his memory.

"It is very sad, lose someone so young. Whatever you can do to help is all good," said Debbie Witzl of Hawley.

Still, the Forest Volunteer Fire Department is hurting, questioning why someone who wanted to do so much good was taken so young.

"Life was tragically taken," said the chief. "Nobody knows why. I don't know what the answer is."

The decision to not cancel the pig roast came Saturday morning. Firefighters say Daniels was the kind of kid who would have wanted them to go ahead with the fundraiser.