Coroner: Hanover firefighter had 'coronary event'
A Hanover firefighter who died after crashing a rescue vehicle while on his way to a fire call in West Manheim Township suffered a coronary event, according to York County Coroner Pam Gay.
An autopsy Monday morning at Allentown's Lehigh Valley Hospital determined Earl Shoemaker, 68, died of a heart-related medical issue, not from injuries he suffered in the crash, Gay confirmed.
Shoemaker was a volunteer firefighter with Hanover's Eagle Fire Co. No. 2 for more than 40 years, according to Hanover Fire Chief Jan Cromer.
He was on his way to a house fire in the 500 block of Pumping Station Road about 9:35 a.m. Saturday when he crashed Eagle's mobile air truck, which allows firefighters' air packs to be refilled on scenes, according to West Manheim Township Police Chief Tim Hippensteel.
The crash: Shoemaker was on Baltimore Pike and made a left onto Brunswick Drive, which turns about 90 degrees before intersecting with Pumping Station Road, the chief said.
Shoemaker failed to turn when the road did, causing the 2010 Pierce truck to go into a cornfield, where it drifted more than 600 feet before stopping, according to Hippensteel, who said Shoemaker was alone in the truck.
Rescue crews had difficulty getting Shoemaker out of the truck because the driver-side door of the truck was over a deep ditch, the chief said, and there was no way to pull him out through the passenger-side door because there's a huge console in the middle.
A group effort was necessary, he said.
"Quite a number of people helped lift him out of the truck," Hippensteel said, including firefighters, ambulance crew members, a township officer and people who live in the area.
Shoemaker was pronounced dead at Hanover Hospital, according to Cromer.
Eagle's air truck sustained damage to its front bumper and to the Federal Q siren mounted just above the bumper, as well as to its undercarriage, Hippensteel said.
West Manheim Township police officers will wear patches on their vests to honor Shoemaker and his decades of service to the Hanover area, according to Hippensteel.
Dozens of friends and colleagues gathered at the Wirt Park fire station in Hanover to leave flowers and pay their respects to Shoemaker's memory.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.