KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Easton, Kansas, firefighter died Sunday while responding to a fire.
According to the Easton Fire Department, Johnny Ivison, Jr., 23, was responding to a fire Sunday evening in Easton when he was involved in a traffic crash and died.
Lennie Hurley was cooking steaks at his house that night. He's blind but usually doesn't have any trouble getting around.
Ivison Jr. was a volunteer firefighter and part-time technician. He was on his way to Hurley's house when he crashed on County Road 21 near Shawnee Road.
"I guess I misjudged it and had the flame a little too high and when I turned my meat, it caused a grease fire," Hurley told 41 Action News on Monday.
Hurley tried to turn off the stove but burned his hand. The fire spread quickly, and he was able to call 911 before grabbing his cane and getting out of the house.
Neighbors came to his aid immediately and Hurley said fire crews got there within minutes.
"Sorry to say a guy rolled a truck on 21 highway and I guess he was going to help fight the fire, but he died," Hurley said. "So I feel real guilty about that."
Elizabeth Gates works at Ned Recks Bar and Grill in Easton.
"We are a very close-knit community and it's very close to our hearts," Gates said. "We pray for the family of the firefighter who was just doing his job."
The community is also mourning the recent death of Leavenworth County Sheriff's Deputy Corporal Dan Abramovitz, who was killed in a car crash on Oct 30.
"We know everybody pretty much in this town, everybody knows everybody, so we all stick together. And when you hear something like this, it hits close to home," Gates said.
Hurley said he's grateful for his neighbors and the firefighters, like Ivison, who dedicate their lives to helping others.
"I feel like they’re heroes. They’re heroes," Hurley said.
"Anyone you ask will tell you he was a good guy, guaranteed to make you laugh," the department said in Facebook post.
Ivison Jr. leaves behind his wife and two boys.
A fundraiser has been started to pay for Ivison's funeral and personal expenses for the family.
Easton is about 15 miles to the west of Leavenworth.