Firefighters step up, help Okaloosa Co.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Florala Fire and Rescue and the Opp Fire Department stepped up Monday to allow members of the Almarante, Fla., fire department to attend the funeral of a fallen deputy in Okaloosa County.

Florala Fire Chief Jarred Martin said his department was asked by the Almarante Fire Department if they would cover their service area while the department paid their respects to Deputy Bill Myers, 64, who died after being struck by multiple bullets in Shalimar, Fla., last week.

Deputy Myers was killed in the line of duty last week.

Deputy Myers was killed in the line of duty last week.

Myers was a part of the OCSO since 1989.

Sheriff Larry Ashley said Myers retired two years ago, but came back to work part time earlier this year.

Ashley said he was loved, respected and admired for his dedication.

“We are pretty much covering the entire northern part of Okaloosa County,” Martin said. “We have three of us here manning one of their trucks.”

To allow Florala to man the Okaloosa County, the OFD sent two members of its department to cover medical calls and Florala’s volunteers also worked the city.

OFD Chief Cory Spurlin said he sent one firefighter/EMT and one firefighter.

“They are covering Florala for EMS and fire calls and helping cover North Okaloosa County for fire calls,” Spurlin said.

“It’s obviously to allow their department to go to the funeral,” Martin said. “They wanted to go, and we wanted to make that possible for them.”

Martin said when Myers worked part-time, he worked the northern part of the county and got to know many of the members.

Receiving aid from fellow fire departments is something the OFD knows well.

In 2013, OFD firefighter Capt. Jonathan Burgess, 33, died suddenly while working as a firefighter at South Alabama Regional Airport.

Spurlin said that Elba, Andalusia and Samson covered for their department for the funeral and a lot of other departments showed their support by attending the funeral.

“We will always assist when needed because it meant so much to us during the loss of Capt. Burgess,” Spurlin said.

Martin said they would work from 9 a.m. until members of the fire department returned from the funeral.