SIBLEY, Mo. - An assistant fire chief is remembered as a community leader, veteran and family man.
Harold Hollingsworth, 47, of Lexington, died Sunday night. He was the assistant fire chief for the Fort Osage Fire Protection District, which serves towns and rural areas in northeast Jackson County.
Hollingsworth was driving a fire district SUV to a house fire in Sibley on Sunday night when he ran off the road and hit a tree around 10 p.m. The crash happened just outside Sibley at North Buckner Tarsney Road and East Blue Mills Road. He died at the hospital.
The Missouri Highway Patrol is working to determine the cause of the wreck.
Fort Osage fire chief John Yocum said he was friends with Hollingsworth for 22 years. He said Hollingsworth began his career in firefighting 25 years ago in Lexington before joining Fort Osage as a firefighter in 1997. Hollingsworth was promoted to assistant chief in 2011.
"You just don't replace 25 years of service. He's not replaceable," Yocum said. "We will carry on the mission just as Harold would want us to."
Yocum said Hollingsworth leaves behind a wife and two grown sons.
At one point, Hollingsworth served on the school board and with the Boy Scouts in Lexington. He was also a veteran of the Missouri Army National Guard, serving with the 110th Combat Engineer Battalion.
Yocum said the fire district will conduct an internal investigation of the crash once the Highway Patrol's findings are released.