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Monday, March 28, 2005

An urgent prayer request from Keenan Fitzgerald:

The article below is about a man who attends our church. He has been
declared brain-dead and they are removing him from life-support today.
Please pray for His wife and 5 kids.

March 28, 2005

Firefighter collapses at drill

Volunteer hospitalized in critical condition

By Dave Richardson
Times Herald-Record

Montgomery - A volunteer firefighter is fighting for his life after
apparently suffering a catastrophic brain injury during a training
exercise Saturday.

Bob Brooks, 42, of Montgomery, a married father of five who moved to
Montgomery from Long Island in the past year, collapsed during the final
phase of basic firefighter training at the Orange County Fire Training

"This one really hit home, because he's a fairly new firefighter,"
Montgomery fire Chief Jim Ferguson said. "This guy has real heart and
real enthusiasm for the job. He loves his family, the community and his
firefighter family."

Brooks was with other firefighters, in full protective gear, as they
prepared to complete a live-burn exercise - extinguishing a fire
deliberately set in a training building - when he collapsed.

Witnesses and firefighters said it appeared Brooks suffered a grave
brain injury, although medical details were unclear. Brooks was rushed
by ambulance to the Horton campus of Orange Regional Medical Center,
where he remains in critical condition.

Ferguson said Brooks' family and the fire department are devastated.
"It was my worst nightmare come true when I got paged for this,"
Ferguson said.

Ferguson said he heard initial calls about the incident on his police
scanner and raced to the training center to find a frantic scene. There,
firefighters and training-center staff were working desperately to save
Brooks' life.

Brooks has been a volunteer firefighter with the Montgomery Fire
Department since September, Ferguson said.

Montgomery firefighters made Easter baskets Saturday for Brooks'
children - one girl and four boys ranging in age from 3 to 12. They also
cooked an Easter dinner for the family yesterday.

The department was already saddened by the loss of former department
President John W. Matthews, 78, who died Monday at Horton.

About a dozen members of the Montgomery Fire Department turned up in
uniform at the hospital yesterday, offering comfort to Brooks'

Ferguson said his department was deciding what steps to take to help
support Brooks' family as they struggle to cope with the tragedy. He
said the incident would be considered a "line-of-duty" accident,
qualifying Brooks and his family for certain state benefits.

"The important thing is to do the right thing for him and for his
family," Ferguson said. "We are all a family, and we always do right by
each other."

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