A volunteer firefighter in New Jersey was killed in a car crash while she was on her way to help others on Christmas Day, officials said.
Natalie N. Dempsey, 21, was driving her black 2001 Honda Accord in Hamilton Township about 6:20 a.m. Tuesday when she lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a guardrail, cops said.
Dempsey, who was the only person in the car at the time, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company announced Dempsey’s death on Facebook and said the 21-year-old was the vice president of the South Jersey volunteer fire squad.
“At this time the Mizpah Fire Company has to announce the passing of Firefighter/Vice President Natalie Dempsey. Please keep her family in your prayers. We will keep you all updated on any funeral arrangements. This will be a funeral with full honors due to it being a line of duty passing,” the company said in the post.
Chief Jay Davenport told NJ.com he and a few other volunteer firefighters responded to the fire call and were heading back to the station when they stopped to help officers at the scene of the car crash. Davenport said it “smashed” his heart when he realized it was Dempsey who was killed in the wreck.
“She was one of the most beautiful-souled people you could imagine,” he told NJ.com “The world was lollypops and rainbows for that girl. Her smile can light up the room.”
Dempsey aspired to be a police officer and recently passed her Firefighter 1 certification. She had been a volunteer firefighter for the past three years.