Brother James Arthur Jackson

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A young volunteer firefighter will be laid to rest in the Oak Bay cemetery Wednesday afternoon following his death in a motor vehicle accident early Sunday morning.

"It was like losing one of the brotherhood," said George MacLeod, chief of the Oak Bay Fire Department.

An honor guard of fellow firefighters will form at Mehan's Funeral Home in St. Stephen for the 2 p.m. funeral of James Arthur Jackson, son of Clifford E and Louise A. (Stewart) Jackson of Oak Bay.

Following the funeral, Jackson's casket will be placed on the back of the Oak Bay Fire Department's newest pumper truck and will proceed to the cemetery in a procession made up of fire trucks.

Jackson, who would have been 21 in December, will be saluted by fire vehicles as a funeral procession passes the Oak Bay Fire Department.

The young firefighter was killed when the half-ton truck he was driving crossed the highway and plunged into trees near the truck weigh scales at Oak Bay. He was the lone occupant of the vehicle.

A police spokesperson said the accident happened at around 5 a.m. Sunday.

The officer said Jackson was heading east on the highway toward his home on the Board Road. The police believe Jackson may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The officer said the truck crossed the highway, missed the building at the weigh station and struck the nearby trees with considerable impact. The RCMP officer said Jackson died at the scene.

The officer said there were no other vehicles involved in the accident and that Jackson was alone in the vehicle. Police said alcohol was not a factor.

"It was a very unfortunate accident," said the officer.

The Oak Bay Fire Department responded to the scene to extinguish the blaze caused by the accident, which was first called in as a forest fire. Upon learning the identity of the driver, the St. Stephen Fire Department took over battling the blaze while shocked members of the Oak Bay Fire Department battled with the realization of who had died in the accident.

"It was a shock to respond to a motor vehicle accident and find out it was one of your own," MacLeod said.

MacLeod said firefighters attended a debriefing session Monday night dealing with the effect the accident had on them.

Jackson had been a member of the Oak Bay Fire Department for three years. MacLeod described him as a willing worker who would turn his hand to any task he was asked to do.

"He like to work as part of the team," said MacLeod.

Chief MacLeod said Jackson joined the fire department as a junior member when he was 17, working his way up through the department training process with the goal of earning his Level One firefighter's certificate.

- The St. Croix Courier -

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