Fallen midstate firefighter remembered as 'good man'

Written by Ted Czeck/York Daily Record | Mar 13, 2017 4:08 AM

Eureka firefighter Denny Devoe, rear, helps probationary firefighter Keith Amberman use a chainsaw to cut through a garage roof in November 2014. DeVoe died Saturday due to injuries sustained in a car crash while he was heading to battle a fire in Harrisburg.(Photo: Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record)

Whiteford Fire Chief Frank Krick called Dennis DeVoe a "firefighter's firefighter."

(Stewartstown) -- Lt. Dennis "Denny" DeVoe was known as a dedicated firefighter and family man, with both a willingness to pass on what he knew and a desire to learn more, according to those who knew him.

DeVoe, of Stewartstown, a 21-year veteran of Harrisburg Bureau of Fire, was on his way to the station to pick up his gear before heading to the scene of a Harrisburg fire Friday night when his vehicle was hit in an intersection, Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline said.

Stewartstown fire chief Ira Walker Jr. remembers Lt. Dennis "Denny" DeVoe for his volunteer service. DeVoe also lived in Stewartstown. (Photo: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)


Just before discovery of the fire -- which claimed the life of a 3-year-old and seriously injured two other children -- DeVoe was among a group who had been attending the funeral of Harrisburg firefighter Dan Wolfe, who had recently died of cancer, according to York City Deputy Fire Chief Chad Deardorff.

DeVoe died later Saturday evening. The driver of the other vehicle faces charges stemming from the crash.

Firefighters from Stewarts town and Fawn Grove remember Lt. Dennis "Denny" DeVoe was a career fighter working in Harrisburg. DeVoe lived in Stewartstown and have volunteered with Fawn Grove, Stewartstown and Whiteford. Paul Kuehnel


"Denny was a leader in our department and the fire service as a whole," Enterline wrote in a news release on Saturday. "His passion for the fire service made each of us strive to be better in all we do. Our department and the City of Harrisburg are better because of his service."

In addition to his service as a paid firefighter with Harrisburg, DeVoe also volunteered with fire companies in Fawn Grove and Whiteford, Harford County, Maryland, and had at one time volunteered for Eureka Fire Company in Stewartstown.

DeVoe also worked part time at the York County Fire School, according to Deardorff.

Fawn Grove Chief Doug Shanberger said DeVoe started out with his company in 1988 as a 16-year-old.

"He was real active the first three years he was in," Shanberger said. "He put a lot of training in."

Shanberger said DeVoe went away from Fawn Grove for a few years as he joined other companies, but returned two years ago once DeVoe's son, Carson, started in Fawn Grove's junior firefighter program.

"It was everything to him," Shanberger said. "He loved what he did and you can tell by the effort that he put into everything. You can see that he wanted to pass it on to his son."

Ira Walker, chief at Stewartstown, said he, Shanberger and Whiteford Acting Fire Chief Dan Lemmon visited DeVoe at Hershey Medical Center on Saturday.

"We visited with the family and paid our final respects," Walker said.

Walker said DeVoe had volunteered for his department for about four years, but had chosen to focus his volunteer efforts in Fawn Grove and Whiteford about two years ago.

"He was a wealth of knowledge; I highly respected him. I went to him for guidance, I leaned on him for training," Walker said. "It's a true loss of a good man. A good man and a good firefighter."

Deardorff called DeVoe "a great asset to the fire service," adding that he had known DeVoe since the beginning of their careers.

"He had went to the career academy the year after I did at HACC," Deardorff said. "Over the years, I just got to know him better through training and different events."

Deardorff said DeVoe, while at the fire school, would oversee controlled burns inside the training buildings, making sure the fires did not get too hot and would also help out in other capacities when needed.

"He was very willing to teach people," Deardorff said. "He was never one to back down from any challenge. He was the type that was there for whatever you needed him for."

Whiteford Fire Chief Frank Krick called DeVoe a "firefighter's firefighter."

Krick said he had known DeVoe for the past 20 years and that they had gone from rookies to veterans together. For nearly that entire time, DeVoe had also volunteered for Fawn Grove.

Krick said DeVoe's name would be added to the department's memorial wall outside the building and a plaque inside.

"He was top-notch, always willing to help, a great mentor for the younger members," Krick said. "He was always willing to learn, always willing to give back."

Gov. Tom Wolf on Sunday ordered flags to be flown at half-staff to honor DeVoe. The governor said flags would remain at half-staff at the Capitol Complex until DeVoe's interment.

Woman charged in the crash

Police have charged Khanye Kendall, 18, in Friday night's fatal crash.

Police allege that a vehicle that had been reported stolen went through a stop sign and struck DeVoe's vehicle on the passenger side, and the female driver was seen fleeing.

Later, Kendall went to Harrisburg hospital and officers met with her to take an accident report. Police said she provided false information about where and how the crash happened, and showed signs of impairment during a field sobriety test.

Kendall was charged with aggravated assault by motor vehicle while driving under the influence, receiving stolen property and other offenses. Court documents do not list a defense attorney who could respond to the charges and a listed phone number for her could not be found Sunday.

Contact reporter Ted Czech at 717-771-2033.

York Daily Record reporter Anthony J. Machcinski and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.


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