|Agency||Sesser Fire Protection District|
|Type of Firefighter||Volunteer|
|Age Range||41 to 45|
|Date of Birth||8/28/1963|
|Date of Death||7/27/2007|
|Cause of Death||Struck by vehicle|
|Nature of Death||Trauma|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Post-incident|
On July 27, 2007, Firefighter James “Shib” Miller of the Sesser Fire Protection District died in the line of duty.
At 2:49AM, firefighters from the Sesser Fire Protection District were dispatched to a tractor trailer fire on Interstate 57. Firefighters arrived on scene within fifteen minutes, and created a safe working zone by positioning two fire engines (Engines 101 and 110) and a rescue truck around the tractor trailer. Because the tractor trailer was parked on the right shoulder of the two-lane highway, firefighters closed the right lane by placing traffic cones in the lane and by activating a lighted arrow board, mounted on the rear of the rescue truck, that directed traffic to move into the left lane. Furthermore, flashing emergency lights were activated on all three fire apparatus.
By 4:14AM, the tractor trailer fire was successfully extinguished and firefighters were clearing the scene when the parked Engine 101 was sideswiped by a bus that had failed to slow down and move into the left lane of traffic. Miller, who was loading hose into Engine 101’s driver’s side storage compartment, was killed when he was struck by the bus and thrown more than 170 feet.
Funeral services for Miller were held at Sesser’s First Baptist Church on August 1, and he was interred at Maple Hill Cemetery. More than 100 fire apparatus and firefighters from three states joined in the funeral procession.
A member of the Sesser Fire Protection District for twenty-two years, Miller was survived by his widow and two daughters. He was remembered as an active participant in all department activities, including fire safety training for local children and the annual charity food basket program during the holidays.
Following Miller’s death, Sesser firefighters and citizens took an active role in creating and advocating for “Shib’s Law,” which gives firefighters, if no law enforcement or highway officials are present, the authority to close lanes of traffic while responding to an emergency situation. Sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby and State Representative John E. Bradley, the “Shib’s Law” legislation was signed into law in 2008 and went into effect on January 1, 2009.