Jackson Heights firefighter dies from injuries

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 8:07am

UPDATE: (December 3rd): A Tyler Firefighter tells KETK that Jalen Smith has died at a local hospital.

Smith was a Volunteer Firefighter for the Jackson Heights Volunteer Fire Department.

He was injured on November 30th in a rollover accident with two other firemen.

The 19 year old graduated from Chapel Hill High School in 2010.

The three Jackson Heights volunteer firemen involved in the rollover accident on Friday evening were C.J. Redwine, Gary Robinson, and Jalen Smith.

DPS officials tell KETK Redwine and Robinson only sustained minor injuries, but Smith is still in critical condition. KETK spoke to The Jackson Heights Fire Chief, Terence Thompson, he says Smith was not the driver of the vehicle, and the three fireman were on their way to the fire station to respond to a tractor accident in the area when the wreck happened.

Smith was ejected from the vehicle, he remains in ICU at ETMC—friends and co-workers of Smith tell KETK doctors tell them that if Smith survives he will be paralyzed from the neck down, but they also say Smith "may not make it."

Smith is a 2010 Chapel Hill High School graduate, shortly after high school he attended fire academy.

Smith also works at Atwoods Ranch and Home store in Tyler.

Travis Stripling is a coworker of Smith's from Atwoods, he tells KETK Smith is a very "bubbly" young man who has a passion for being a fireman. He says when he's not at work at Atwoods, he's out in the community working as a Jackson Heights volunteer fireman, a job that he loves. Stripling says, "With the situation he's in now, it's just up to God what the outcome is, but you know if he doesn't make it through it at least everybody can know that he lost his life doing something that he really loved."

DPS is still investigating the accident.

Thompson tells KETK the Jackson Heights Volunteer fire team is bringing in counselors and a crisis management team for Smith's fellow fire brothers to help deal with Smith's tragic accident.

Three men were taken to the hospital after their vehicle rolled over.

DPS officials tell KETK the accident happened on FM 2767 just after 10.

Two of the people involved in the wreck sustained minor injuries. The other is still being treated at the hospital.

DPS says their condition is unknown.

KETK has heard several reports that the three men who were involved in the rollover were Jackson Heights Firefighters responding to another rollover.

Were are told that 19-year old Jalen Smith is in critical condition, and that if he survives he will be paralyzed and possibly have brain damages.

We are unable to get this information confirmed.

We will keep you updated on this story as soon as more developments are made.

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