|Agency||Brimfield Community Fire Protection District|
|Type of Firefighter||Paid-On-Call (POC)|
|Age Range||51 to 55|
|Date of Birth||4/8/1911|
|Date of Death||1/8/1966|
|Cause of Death||Stress/Overexertion|
|Nature of Death||Heart attack|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Emergency vehicle operations , Responding to/returning from incident|
Melvin Waldron, age 54, had served on the Richwoods Township Fire Department prior to moving to Brimfield where he served the Brimfield Community Fire Protection District for many years as an Assistant Chief. Waldron lived above his tavern business, one-half block away from the fire station and maintained a fire phone in his business and home. He was frequently the driver of the first engine out when responding to an incident.
On January 8, 1966, a fire call came in for a burning pump house southeast of Brimfield. Waldron ran to the fire station and, as usual, drove the engine, a 1952 International 500 GPM pumper carrying 500 gallons of water. With firefighter Raymond Mills in the passenger seat and firefighter Jerry Stuckey crouched on the tailboard, Waldron had the engine on the road within two minutes of the initial call. Chief Murray Miller and Assistant Chief Gerry Heinz followed behind Waldron’s engine in Miller’s car, and the fire department tanker brought up the rear.
Just east of town on U.S. 150 and with the engine running about 60 miles per hour, Waldron had a heart attack with his foot still on the gas pedal. Waldron slumped over unconscious onto Mills who was unable to immediately stop the vehicle. The engine ran off the right side of the road, into a ditch, and then rolled back onto the road. As the engine continued down the highway, Miller drove his car up alongside the driverless engine so that Heinz could attempt to jump from the car onto the engine’s running board. Before this was possible, the engine careened off the left side of the road, just as Mills was able to stop the engine about one mile east of Brimfield. The engine remained upright through the incident and no one was injured. The tanker continued on to the burning pump house and successfully extinguished the blaze. Miller tried to revive Waldron using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but he was unsuccessful. Waldron was taken to Proctor Hospital in Peoria where he was pronounced dead.
by David F. Clark, January 8, 2007.
"Brimfield Fireman Fatally Stricken En Route To Blaze,” Peoria Journal Star, January 9, 1966.
Obituary of M. F. Waldron, Peoria Journal Star, January 10, 1966.