SCREVEN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A community paused Monday morning to remember a firefighter lost in an off-duty crash. In Sylvania, people stood at the street as his body returned home for burial.
Many in Screven County say Tyler Flemons may have died from an off-duty crash. But the fact he risked his life to protect the community made them want to come pay their respects.
The heart breaking homecoming came right up Main Street. Many stood at the street to show support. He was injured in an ATV crash last week, rushed to Savannah for treatment but died from his injuries.
He’d been at Screven County Fire Department since 2016.
“He’d get so excited on the littlest of calls, where other people didn’t. He got so excited to go help people,” Screven County Fire Battalion Chief Jon Pollock said.
He came through the Georgia Department of Corrections inmate firefighter program. He’d worked while serving prison time and had come back after his release as a volunteer. He and the chief were counting down the months until he would apply for state certification.
“He worked his butt off to get where he was, and it was taken from him,” Pollock said.
Firefighters from across the area joined the caravan of support. Julia and Chuck Balukin knew him only by reputation.
“It speaks volumes or the person he was. Public service people don’t get enough credit or recognition,” Balukin said.
Pollock says the escort and the turnout are bittersweet.
“At one point you’re sad. You see all the people out there and it hurts you. But on a different part, all these people are honoring him,” Pollock said.