Former colleagues are sharing stories about one of two Toledo firefighters who died Sunday while battling a fire.James Dickman, called Jamie, was one of two Toledo firefighters who died Sunday after battling a fire at a north Toledo apartment building. Dickman was a rookie in the Toledo Fire Department. There hadn't even been a ceremony for his fire academy class graduation.
Yet, as a fireman, Jamie was no rookie at all.
Stephen Reiderman worked with Jamie for almost ten years as a firefighter for Perkins Township in Sandusky. "He's just one of those people who had the compassion and the sympathy," says Reiderman.
Reiderman had heard from Jamie the day before he died, via text. He recalls, "Saturday, he just text me Saturday, and invited some of us to his graduation ceremony."
When Reiderman first heard that there had been fatalities at a fire on Sunday, he sent his friend Jamie a text to make sure he was alright. A reply never came.
Jamie was just 31-years-old, but was already seen as someone to look up to. "He always had motivational things to say. I went through a life-changing event myself, and he was there for me every day," said Reiderman.
Jamie is also described as a mentor, and a family man. "We talked about kids. He had a kid on the way, at that time, and a young daughter, Paige. She was always in here," said Perkins Township Firefighter Matt Sullivan.
Everyone says that Jamie always dreamed of working in Toledo, but that dream almost didn't come true. "At first he didn't get appointed, due to the size of the class." said Reiderman. "He called me in the back room there in our bunk room and told me he got an appointment to go to the fire academy. And, I was just so proud of him."
The flag at the Perkins Township fire department is at half-staff. Although grieving, former colleagues offered their support to James Dickman's wife, three-year-old daughter, and newborn son.
Toledo Fire Chief Luis Santiago said Monday that the department will do everything they can to investigate the fire while still making the fallen firefighters' families the number one priority. "It's very traumatic for us as a department, but I can only imagine how it is for the families," said Santiago. "We're trying to help them manage."
A "Last Alarm" service for Jamie and Private Stephen Machcinski, also killed in Sunday's fire, will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the SeaGate Centre in downtown Toledo. Visitation for Private Machcinski will be held at the Walker Funeral Home on Friday from 2-9 p.m. Family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Dickman Family Memorial Fund c/o any PNC Bank.
The family of James Dickman has scheduled a public viewing on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., prior to the "Last Alarm" service. The viewing will be held at the Cedar Creek Church in Perrysburg.