A firefighting department in New Jersey mourns a fallen friend after one of their beloved colleagues lost her life in the early hours of Christmas Day while responding to an emergency call.
Natalie Dempsey, Vice President of the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company 18-2, was rushing to offer assistance at around 6 am on December 25. Dempsey lost control of her 2001 Honda Accord and drove through a guardrail and off the road. She was discovered dead at the scene by members of her own company who were assisting other officials at the crash site as they returned from the initial fire Dempsey had been reporting to.
Dempsey, 21, was the only person in her vehicle at the time of the accident, according to a police statement.
The Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company 18-2 announced Dempsey's death on its Facebook page.
The company noted the funeral will be held with "full honors due to it being a line of duty passing."
"At this time the Mizpah Fire Company has to announce the passing of Firefighter/Vice President Natalie Dempsey," it wrote. "Please keep her family in your prayers. We will keep you all updated on any funeral arrangements."
The Mays Landing Fire Department, which works with the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company, also offered its condolences.
"Natalie Dempsey was a vibrant young firefighter who always had a smile on her face, and she will be greatly missed," it wrote on its Facebook page. "Please join us in extending our thoughts and prayers to Ms. Dempsey's family as well as to her firehouse family during this tough time."
Mizpah Fire Chief Jay Davenport confirmed to NJ.com that Dempsey had been a firefighter for three years and had recently passed her Firefighter 1 certification. She eventually wanted to become a police officer.
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