Donald Martin

Submitted by a fellow firefighter

Donald Martin responded to Fire Station #1 for a search and rescue call of a missing juvenile. During the preparation of needed equipment‚ he began to show signs of not feeling well which included coughing and shortness of breath. When asked by other emergency personnel if he was ok‚ he replied that he was ok. Shortly afterwards‚ he was unable to breathe and his skin color was blue. Personnel aided Don and placed him on a stretcher at which time he went into cardiac arrest. CPR was performed throughout the 15 minute ambulance transport to the hospital where CPR was continued by EMS personnel and ER staff. Don showed no signs of life and doctors had no choice but to call the code.

Don was and still is sadly missed by all of those who knew him. He had been a dedicated member of the Van Buren Fire Department for nearly 3 years. He also had nearly 10 years of experience with another fire department prior to joining the Van Buren Fire Department. He was a certified EMT-I with the Van Buren Ambulance service and had planned on taking the paramedic course in the fall of 1998. Don’s specialty and ‘love’ on the fire department was definitely driving and operating of the apparatus. No one came close to being able to make a pumper ‘sing’ like Don. He was an expert on the trucks and understood what needed to be done in any given situation.

Don was well liked by department personnel. He was the ‘class clown’ who could always make you laugh with a joke or some kind of wise-crack. Don has been to date the only firefighter who has died in the line-of-duty in our department and is sorely missed. I personally think of him every day.