Georgia firefighter EMT dies unexpectedly during his first shift

CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia fire department is mourning the loss of a rookie firefighter who died on Saturday while on duty.

St. Marys Fire said EMT Efren Medina died unexpectedly during his first shift with the department. He was 21 years old. A celebration of life will be held Thursday.

“He was known for his long time passion for firefighting and his love of the fire service. We greatly appreciate the outpouring of sympathy, support and condolences during this very difficult time,” the department said.

Fire Chief Tom Lackner told Channel 2′s sister station Action News Jax the department hasn’t lost a firefighter on the job in at least three decades.

The Jacksonville station also spoke with Medina’s widow.

“He always made me laugh, he always tried to brighten up the mood,” Brittany Vasquez told Action News Jax. “He loved being around people and doing things with people.”

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Lackner said that Medina responded to a medical call with his team Saturday morning. The team returned at 3:30 a.m. to sleep. Lackner said they tried to wake up Medina at 7:30 but he did not answer.

“Just don’t know why wouldn’t wake up...he passed his physical...everything came back clear; don’t know,” Lackner told Action News Jax.

A celebration of life will be held Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Allison Memorial Chapel in St. Marys. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Medina family.

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