NJ volunteer firefighter killed while responding to a call on Christmas morning

Jaimie-lee Prince
Dec 26, 2018
01:20 P.M.

A female New Jersey firefighter passed away on Christmas day. She was on her way to carry out her duties.


According to 6ABC, Natalie Dempsey's black 2001 Honda Accord was found off the roadway near Landis Avenue, west of Estelle Avenue.

Her co-workers discovered the tragic scene at 6:20 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Dempsey was the only fatality of the accident.

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It is still unclear how the 21-year-old lost control of her vehicle and went crashing into a guardrail on her way to a fire.


The call had come in from Hamilton Township in Atlantic County. Other volunteer firefighters took care of the fire. Then, they got the call for Dempsey's crash.

The young woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Chief Jay Davenport explained:

"We stopped in the truck to assist and we walked up on the car and realized what it was."

He later added:


"Just a beautiful person, a smile that could light up a room. Great individual. We're just sorry for what's going on and we'll do whatever it takes."

Before her death, Dempsey worked as the Vice President of the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company. They as well as the Mays Landing Fire Department and Hamilton Rescue Squad, responded to the crash.

Eriana Davenport, another member of Mizpah, said:

"It's going to be hard, but we know she's watching us and will be in whatever calls we go on."


On Christmas evening, officers held a vigil for their lost firefighter. Firetruck sirens, which Dempsey loved, filled the air in her remembrance.

The Mizpah company posted a message on Facebook:

"At this time the Mizpah Fire Company has to announce the passing of Firefighter/Vice President Natalie Dempsey. Please keep her family in your prayers. We will keep you all updated on any funeral arrangements. This will be a funeral with full honors due to it being a line of duty passing."

Additionally, the Mays Landing Fire Department also stated in a post:

"To our brothers and sisters at Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company 18-2 we stand with you and we mourn with you during this dark hour. Natalie Dempsey was a vibrant young firefighter who always had a smile on her face, and she will be greatly missed. Natalie Dempsey, thank you for your service; we'll take it from here."


In another story involving a firefighter, an elderly man killed his wife by shooting her several times with a revolver. He was a retired Jackson firefighter who worked for years in Hinds County.

Thomas Ballenger and Rebecca Ballenger were married for 40 years. In mid-December, Rebecca suffered a stroke. Thomas said she asked him to kill her as she could not live in a vegetative state.

Responding police arrested Thomas after finding his wife dead. He was later charged with murder and denied bail. Details about what may be a mercy killing remain unclear.

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