Orange Rural firefighter who died in the line of duty identified as assistant chief

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NC (WTVD) -- A firefighter with the Orange Rural Fire Department died Monday afternoon, shortly after he helped with a rescue call earlier in the day.

Assistant Chief Jeff "Stan" Holden, 32, had been with the department since September 2001. He was found unresponsive at the main station in downtown Hillsborough about 1:30 p.m.

Revival attempts by the crew on shift and by emergency workers who arrived on the scene were unsuccessful.

"Chief Holden was a critical piece of our organization and will be forever missed," Deputy Chief Mac Cabe said Tuesday.

Holden leaves behind a wife and child. The Hillsborough Firefighters Association has opened a share account at the Local Government Federal Credit Union for the family.

Those who would like to donate can visit any State Employees Credit Union location to make a deposit into the "Scholarship Fund for Miller" account.

Orange Rural Fire Chief Jeff Cabe recalled that in Holden's first 30 days as an official firefighter in 2003, Holden assisted in calls for a train derailment, arson fire, commercial fire, fatal house fire, hazardous materials spill and multi-casualty vehicle pin-in.

"He was a firefighter's firefighter," Jeff Cabe said Tuesday. "Most of the things a firefighter would see by the end of career, he saw in his first 30 days."

Holden started as a junior member of the department before he was 16 and became an employee in 2003.

He was one of two Orange Rural firefighters who entered a trench on West Ten Road in Efland on Monday to free a person who was trapped.

The department responded as part of a mutual aid agreement with other area fire departments. Because Orange Rural has personnel certified in trench rescue, the department was dispatched to assist in the call along with its heavy rescue unit.

The State Medical Examiner's Office will rule on the cause of death.