Friends, colleagues come out to show respect for fallen firefighter
The downpour of rain Sunday evening didn't stop friends and colleagues of recently fallen volunteer firefighter Earl Shoemaker from showing up at Wirt Park Fire Station in Hanover to pay their respects.
Shoemaker, 68, a member of Eagle Fire Co. in Hanover, was driving a rescue vehicle to the blaze in the 500 block of Pumping Station Road Saturday morning when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle drove off the road. Shoemaker was taken to Hanover Hospital, where he died later in the morning.
Respects: Pleasant Hill Fire Co. Chief Ted Clousher said his department decided to gather friends and colleagues of Shoemaker to lay flowers down in front of the bell at the fire station.
"We decided this morning to do it," Clousher said, adding that his department works closely with Hanover, and Pleasant Hill decided to gather to show their respects to the department.
Members of Pleasant Hill showed up at the Hanover station in their fire engine.
Around 30 friends and colleagues of the volunteer firefighter lined up, with flowers in hand, to take a moment and lay their flowers down in front of the bell, where they then stood for a moment of silence.
The bell in front of the station was lined with flowers afterward.
Remembered: Jamie and Michelle Cramer were there paying their respects. Jamie, a firefighter for Pleasant Hill Fire Department, knew Shoemaker for 24 years. He knew Shoemaker as an avid fan of camping and NASCAR and someone who was very involved with the Hanover fire company.
Michelle said she knew Shoemaker for more than 40 years as Shoemaker's children were the same age as she is and they grew up together. She said ever since 1992 they would go to NASCAR races together frequently, and recently they had been going about twice a year. She said now those races wouldn't be the same.
Jamie said they also went camping together.
"And always the subject turned to the fire company," Michelle said.
Jamie said Shoemaker would always come to the Hanover fire station to have coffee in the morning, adding that the fire department was a huge part of Shoemaker's life. He said everybody in the Hanover fire company knew Shoemaker.
Jamie said he never saw Shoemaker angry.
"I don't think I've ever see him upset or mad," he said.
A cause of death for Shoemaker has been not been determined. An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown to determine his cause of death, according to the York County Coroner's Office.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com.