Chesterfield firefighter dies while teaching water rescue course
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - A 41-year-old Chesterfield firefighter died in an apparent swift water rescue incident while off-duty over the weekend.
Alicia A. Monahan was an 11-year veteran of Chesterfield County Fire and EMS, assigned to the Clover Hill Fire Station, Engine 207-B shift.
On June 25, Monahan was working with Rescue 3 International, training a group of fire and EMS professionals on swift water rescue techniques on the Nantahala River outside Bryson City, North Carolina.
“After conducting a safety briefing with the students around 3:00 PM, she entered the water wearing full protective equipment and for reasons still unknown, became unresponsive,” a release said.
She was carried downstream a short distance, where she was taken out of the river by people nearby. They then started resuscitation efforts. Despite those efforts, she was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital.
“Alicia’s untimely passing weighs heavy on our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her fiancé, her two sons, extended family, and many friends. Her coworkers continue to support the needs of the family while at the same time providing uninterrupted emergency services to the community Alicia loved and where she grew up and lived. While she will always be remembered for her devotion to duty and unparalleled service to others, her legacy will be the inspiration she provided to countless young women considering careers in the fire service or the pursuit of causes bigger than themselves,” Chesterfield County Fire & EMS Chief Loy Senter said.
During her career, Monahan was involved in many things, including the department’s SCUBA Rescue Team and the Virginia Helicopter Aquatics Rescue Team. She was a licensed dog trainer and served as an operational K9 handler for the Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association.
In a Facebook post, the Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association mourned the loss of their fallen teammate and offered a touching tribute.
“VSRDA is mourning the loss of our teammate, Alicia Monahan, who suffered a catastrophic accident earlier today while instructing students during a swift water rescue course in North Carolina,” the post said.
The post went on to say that the organization sends thoughts and prayers out to Alicia’s two sons, her fiancée, her family, as well as her many friends and co-workers.
“Alicia was a wonderful, caring person,” the post said. “A beautiful, bright light went out today and our hearts are broken.”
Chesterfield Fire says more details concerning arrangements and any needs the family may have will be provided as they become available.
In a Facebook post, the Chesterfield Professional Fire Fighters Association said the Charitable Foundation is helping with the family’s needs as they can.
According to their Facebook post, donations can be made directly on the CPFFCF website or checks can be mailed to Chesterfield Professional Firefighters Charitable Foundation, P. O. Box 812, Chesterfield, VA 23832. The organization is asking donors to write in the Special Instructions Section, “Alicia Monahan.” One hundred percent of these donations will go directly to the benefit of her sons. Donations may also be dropped off at any Chesterfield Fire and EMS station.
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