Firefighter killed when train hits truck

Picking up the pieces…of a violent crash..while a community remembers a man…who used his life….to serve others.

“He’d do whatever he needed to get the job done. He would do it,” said Brodhead Fire Chief Larry Taylor of Chris Kerns’ work ethic.

Kerns worked as a volunteer for Brodhead’s Fire Department and more recently..the 29 year old worked full time for Berea’s city department.

“To help people….that was his biggest concern. To save people’s property and save lives,” said Chief Taylor.

On Friday friends say Kerns used his day off to hunt mushrooms in the Brush Creek Community..but while trying to cross the tracks on Twin Tunnel Road….he apparently didn’t the see the oncoming CSX train, carrying a cargo of 8 engines.

The impact happened right after the train exited a tunnel. Officials believe visibility could have been factor. The crossing also didn’t have lights or cross bars.

“The speed limit back there (on the tracks) says 35 miles per hour….if it’s 35…you’ve got very little time, something that large, no way it could stop,” said KSP Trooper Sean Dixon of the train.

As first responders rushed to the scene, Kerns’ brother, also a firefighter, was among the first to find him.

“Whenever he basically figured out who it was, he stepped aside,” said Dixon.

State police and railroad officials are now actively investigating the crash….and a firefighting community is preparing for a final farewell.

“The whole community will be there for him. We’ll do whatever needs to be done,” said Taylor.

A community that will try to help a family…whose husband, father, and son…used his life for others.


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