NELSONVILLE – A Nelsonville firefighter collapsed and died at the scene of a fire Sunday evening, Nelsonville Division of Fire shared on Facebook.
Nelsonville senior firefighter Jeff Armes, collapsed and died at the scene of a structure fire Sunday, May 2, 2021, on Pleasantview Avenue. The Nelsonville Division of Fire was alerted to the fire there around 5:04 p.m.
Nelsonville Fire Chief Harry Barber asked residents to keep Armes in their prayers.
“Please keep all our firefighters and their families in your thoughts and prayers as we work through this difficult time,” Barber said.
While actively firefighting, Armes collapsed, a release said. Firefighters and EMS administered CPR and advanced life support care immediately.
Armes was transported by Athens County EMS to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens where he was pronounced dead.
Details of Armes’ death are not yet available to The Athens Messenger, as an autopsy is being performed on his body.
Nelsonville City Manager Scott Frank expressed his grief at the loss.
“This is a day that we have all dreaded in our minds,” Frank said. We are keenly aware of the dangers of our public safety professionals, but we all have hoped they would continue to be looked over and protected. Now that tragedy has stricken our City, we must not fall apart but stand strong and band together to support the Armes family and those who are closest to them.”
Frank told The Messenger that Armes’ death was a complete “shock” to Nelsonville government and the community at large.
“I can’t imagine what his family is going through right now,” Frank said.
He said Armes was always involved in community events like Christmas.
“I can tell you that Jeff has been around for a really long time and is really well loved in the fire department,” Frank said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine acknowledged Armes’ death during his Monday press conference, and ordered all flags in the state lowered to half-mast until Armes’ funeral.
“Our first responders take risks every single day, this is a tragedy and we are very, very, sorry,” DeWine said Monday.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 7, with visitation hours from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 6, at Roberts Funeral Home — Logan, OH with Joshua N. Martin officiating. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Cemetery, York Township in Athens County.
Guests are required to follow current pandemic guidelines by wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Additional details will be shared by the fire division as they become available.
Barber was not available for immediate comment.