Mecklenburg County Line of Duty Deaths – Historical Perspective

Arrangements were announced today [link expired] for Pineville Firefighter Richard Sheltra, who died in the line of duty at a strip mall fire in Charlotte on Saturday. Sheltra is the seventeenth line-of-duty death in (or from ) Mecklenburg County. The first were recorded in 1914, when Charlotte Fire Chief J. Harvey Wallace and Captain William B. Glenn were killed while fighting a barn fire, when dynamite exploded in a nearby house.

From 1914 to 2016, twelve members of the Charlotte Fire Department have died in the line of duty, and four members of the North Carolina Air National Guard. They were detailed to South Dakota and killed in an air tanker crash in 2012.

Mecklenburg County has also experienced the greatest number of LODDs in the state, followed by Forsyth County (14), Wake County (11), and Buncombe (10) and Cumberland (10) counties.

Top to bottom, left to right: Wallace, Glenn, Spittle, Mendenhall, Cathey, Westnidge, Black, Munday, Pettus, Long, Copeland, Franklin, Cannon, David, McCormick, Mikeal, Sheltra

From my fallen firefighter database:

Name Age Rank Death Department Narrative
J. Harvey Wallace 40 Chief 07/01/14 Charlotte Both killed while fighting a barn fire, when dynamite exploded in a nearby house.
William B. Glenn 49 Captain 07/01/14 Charlotte
George W. Spittle 39 Firefighter? 03/10/17 Charlotte Died of injuries sustained after the engine he was riding was struck by a street car, while responding to a call.
Robert E. Mendenhall 37 Captain 05/17/28 Charlotte Died after being ejected from the engine he was riding, after a collision with a grocery truck while responding to a county-assistance call.
W. Graham Cathey 24 Firefighter 01/08/29 Charlotte Killed when struck by a utility pole, while working on the fire alarm system.
Joseph S. Westnedge 30 Firefighter 03/06/34 Charlotte Died at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, from injuries after the engine he was riding struck a tree, while responding to a fire.
Pruitt L. Black 29 Firefighter? 04/01/34 Charlotte Died after he tripped on his bunker pants and fell headfirst down the pole hole at Station 4.
James M. Munday 50 Assistant Chief 03/08/55 Charlotte Died of coronary occlusion in 800 block of East Trade Street.
Marshall G. Pettus 55 Captain 03/19/68 Charlotte Died at Mercy Hospital, thirty minutes after suffering a coronary occlusion.
Kent F. Long 44 Firefighter II 12/01/06 Charlotte Died after collapsing at Station 23 while exercising and after responding to multiple calls during his shift.
Michael W. Copeland 50 Captain 01/25/03 Charlotte Died of a heart attack at a live fire training exercise, after just stepping off the apparatus to take command of the incident.
Mark T. Franklin 46 Engineer 11/30/03 Charlotte Died of a massive pulmonary embolism as a result of a knee surgery to repair damage sustained while pulling hose at a fire on Apr 18, 2003.
Robert S. Cannon 50 Senior Master Sgt./Flight Engineer 07/01/12 NC Air National Guard Four members of the 145th Airlift Wing were killed when their Air Force C-130, carrying a modular forest firefighting system, crashed in South Dakota on the White Draw fire near Edgemont.
Ryan S. David 35 Major/Navigator 07/01/12 NC Air National Guard
Joseph M. McCormick 36 Major/Instructor Pilot 07/01/12 NC Air National Guard
Paul K. Mikeal 42 Lt. Col./Evaluator Pilot 07/01/12 NC Air National Guard
Richard Sheltra 20 Firefighter 4/30/16 Pineville Died as result of inhalation of products of combustion, while fighting a three-alarm fire at a strip mall.
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