Veteran firefighter kills self hours after posting PTSD status on Facebook


A veteran firefighter in Florida died by his own hand on Saturday, the same day he posted a Facebook status talking about firefighters and PTSD.

David Dangerfield died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a wooded area of Indian River County, where he had served as a firefighter for nearly three decades.

Dangerfield, a battalion chief with the Indian River County Fire Rescue, posted the ominous status on his Facebook page just after 8 p.m. Saturday. TCPalm.com reported that Indian County deputies responded about two and a half hours later to a 911 call from Dangerfield, in which he told dispatchers where emergency responders would be able to find his body.

“PTSD for firefighters is real,” Dangerfield wrote in the status. “If your love(d) one is experiencing signs get them help quickly. (Twenty-seven) years of deaths and babies dying in your hands is a memory that you will never get rid off (sic). It haunted me daily until now. My love to my crews. Be safe, take care. I love you all.”

>> Read more trending stories

PTSD for Firefighters is real. If your love one is experiencing signs get them help quickly. 27 years of deaths and...

Posted by David Dangerfield on Saturday, October 15, 2016

The initial reaction to his post was one of concern from friends.

“Dave, please don’t do anything crazy, call and talk to someone,” one woman wrote. “Call me if you want. Please.”

Another wrote, “We have a great family of support; reach out and someone will always be there to catch you,” followed by a heart emoji.

The comments continued for hours as friends talked back and forth, asking if anyone had been able to reach Dangerfield. One man said that Dangerfield’s voicemail had filled up and he was not responding to texts.

After people started becoming aware that he had been found dead, the messages of concern turned to grief-stricken thoughts on a long career helping people.

“I am so heartbroken,” one woman wrote. “Dave you were a wonderful guy who taught so many how to be the best fireman they could be, including my dad and my husband. Thank you for your service and now praying that you have found peace. I pray (for) peace for your family in the days and months to come.”

To all of our brothers within Indian River and the Treasure Coast our thoughts are with you as well as Chief Dangerfield...

Posted by Osceola FD Benevolent on Monday, October 17, 2016

Dangerfield’s father told WPTV in West Palm Beach that his son had been diagnosed with PTSD.  

“He was seeing a doctor, for a year and a half, about three days a week,” Bruce Dangerfield said. “Nobody knew how bad he was suffering.”

The International Association of Firefighters reported in August that about 20 percent of firefighters and paramedics suffer from PTSD. The rate is similar to that found in those who have faced combat situations.

The IAFF report goes further to state that a 2015 study by Florida State University found that nearly half of those firefighters surveyed admitted to thinking about suicide. About 19 percent said they made plans to kill themselves, and almost 16 percent said they had attempted suicide in the past.

Those with PTSD are six times more likely to attempt suicide, the study found.

Dangerfield was named the Treasure Coast Fire Chiefs’ Association’s Emergency Service Provider of the Year in 2013, TCPalm.com reported. He served as a field training officer for his department’s dive rescue team, as well as a fire instructor at Indian River State College’s Fire Academy.

He was also active in charitable work, including providing Thanksgiving meals to the needy through the Big Heart Brigade. Dangerfield was also founder of an annual charity firefighters’ chili and salsa cookoff in his community.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

The president's Thanksgiving message to the troops causes a stir
The president's Thanksgiving message to the troops causes a stir

On Thanksgiving morning, President Donald Trump delivered a message via teleconference from his luxury resort in Mar-a-Lago to American military service members overseas — but not everyone is happy about it. Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling appeared on CNN on Thursday to air his grievances with the content of President Trump’s Thanksgiving...
Fellow teen idol Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees remembers David Cassidy
Fellow teen idol Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees remembers David Cassidy

Few people knew the late David Cassidy like Monkees band member and former teen idol Mickey Dolenz. Dolenz told Billboard that he met Cassidy early on in their careers and kept in touch with him through the years. They even toured together with Peter Noone in 2013 in “The World’s Greatest Teen Idols” tour. He told the publication...
U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 on board crashes into Pacific: Live updates
U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 on board crashes into Pacific: Live updates

A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people on board has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, officials said Wednesday. >> Click here or scroll down for the latest updates  >> Read more trending news 
Caught on camera: Teacher arrested, accused of doing cocaine in the classroom
Caught on camera: Teacher arrested, accused of doing cocaine in the classroom

A high school English teacher has been arrested after she was secretly filmed by her students while appearing to cut up and snort what police suspect to be cocaine in an empty classroom, WGN9 reports. Samantha Cox, 24, was taken away from Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana, in handcuffs after students showed the video to their principal...
Jimmy Fallon shares hilarious and gross Thanksgiving fails
Jimmy Fallon shares hilarious and gross Thanksgiving fails

Leave it to Jimmy Fallon to help his fans get over their Thanksgiving dinner fails. On Wednesday night, the comedian and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” host shared some of his fan-submitted Thanksgiving fails that will make you thankful that your dinner came out much better! Not even old grandpa got a pass when it came to some...
More Stories