NJ firefighter on way to answer call dies in single-car crash on Christmas

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MAYS LANDING, N.J.  — Officials say a volunteer New Jersey firefighter on her way to answer a call on Christmas morning died in a single-car crash.

Natalie Dempsey

Police in Hamilton Township say 21-year-old Natalie Dempsey of Mays Landing lost control of her car shortly before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and struck a guardrail. Police say she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chief Jay Davenport of the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Department said Dempsey was on her way to a call. He said the department is like “a close-knit family” and “This one has hit us hard.”

Davenport said Dempsey had been a volunteer firefighter for three years, hoped to become a police officer and attended the police academy over the summer. He said she was “a beautiful person … a light in the sky.”

The Mays Landing Fire Department shared the news in a Facebook post:

“It is with great sadness that the Mays Landing Fire Department has learned of the untimely line of duty passing of a firefighter with one of our sister companies at Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company 18-2 this morning.

To our brothers and sisters at Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company 18-2 we stand with you and we mourn with you during this dark hour. Natalie Dempsey was a vibrant young firefighter who always had a smile on her face, and she will be greatly missed.

Please join us in extending our thoughts and prayers to Ms. Dempsey’s family as well as to her firehouse family during this tough time.

Natalie Dempsey, thank you for your service; we’ll take it from here.”

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