Local fire chiefs on Sunday shared their sense of loss and memories about Rodney Miller, the 45-year-old Loganville Fire Co. chief who on Saturday was killed in the line of service.
Here are their stories:
Steve Buffington, president of the York County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association and retired chief of York City Department of Fire/Rescue Services
Steve Buffington said he feels no sympathy for someone who drives under the influence and doesn't obey traffic laws.
"To hit him and just keep on going ... it's gut-wrenching," he said.
Buffington knew Miller through the York County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association.
"We are a close-knit community," he said. "This is devastating."
Miller always made sure his firefighters had what they needed, Buffington said.
"Rodney was a stand-up guy," he said.
Miller could be outspoken at times but was always respectful and took actions in the best interest of his company, Buffington said.
"It's a huge loss," he said. "It's certainly affected every firefighter in the county."
He said firefighters-especially volunteers-spend "hours and hours together," which include training and fundraisers that help form a special bond.
"Firefighters rely on each other day in and day out to protect each other if we get into trouble," he said. "You form an attachment. When a firefighter dies anywhere, there's a special sense of loss."
Shanan Poe, chief of North Hopewell/Winterstown Volunteer Fire Co.
Shanan Poe knew Miller for more than 20 years and said he was a very personable outdoorsman.
Just last Monday, the two talked about work together, including Miller's job as a general contractor.
"He'd do anything for you," Poe said. "This is a total shock to me."
Poe said he had made it mandatory for his company to take fire police classes because drivers tend not to pay attention.
"It's a tough job," he said.
But Miller was a veteran who knew what he was doing, he said.
It's going to be hard to fill Miller's shoes, as he had vast knowledge of the job, Poe said.
Kurt Holloway, assistant chief of Rose Fire Co. in New Freedom
Kurt Holloway's company was on the scene of the vehicle accident that caused Miller to direct traffic.
He said after Miller was killed at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, the New Freedom company filled in for Loganville's personnel until 8 a.m. "(We're) just trying to support the fire company and the family as much as we possibly can," he said.
Tony Myers, chief of Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Co.
Miller's dedication was one of his defining features, Tony Myers said.
"He was very dedicated to whatever he did," he said. "He cared deeply about his community, and he's definitely going to be missed."
It was the Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company's incident, and Miller was assisting those on scene, Myers said.
"Once you get over the initial shock ... there's a void in the air," he said.
He said that ever since the tragedy happened, there have been constant calls for how people can help.
"Anyone in the area would do whatever they can for Loganville," he said. "It has a very rippling affect, and it'll be felt for some time."
He said the mood in his department is a somber one.
"Some of us have been through line of duty deaths before," he said. "It brings back memories. I think it brings back the reality of how dangerous the job is."
He added that all the training in the world wouldn't have prevented this accident, and it is unfortunate Miller had to give the ultimate sacrifice.
"Our hearts pour out to the family," he said. "We wish them well through this horrific time."
Larry Wildasin, fire chief of North Codorus Township
Larry Wildasin said he was shocked to hear about Miller's passing.
He said Miller was an easy-going guy who was very giving to both the community and his fire department.
"He's just going to be gravely missed," he said.
Mark Sanders, chief of Susquehanna Fire Co.
Most firefighters in the county are volunteers, and losing someone in the line of duty is always difficult, said Mark Sanders.
"We're putting our life on the line, and that's what he did," he said. "He gave the ultimate sacrifice."
As a chief, it was Miller's duty to stand in for fire police, direct traffic and make sure everyone was safe, Sanders said.
"I would do the same," he said.
The community and the fire company are going to have a hard time dealing with this loss, Sanders said.
"To lose a man like that ... the whole community is going to suffer," he said.
Sanders said that any time a firefighter is called to duty, something could go wrong.
He referenced "The Fireman's Prayer," which details the overall mission of firefighters.
The last line reads: "And if according to thy will/That I must give my life/Then with thy protecting hand my Lord/I pray thee, protect my children and my wife."