INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Friends of fallen Independence firefighter David Jameson Jr. describe him as loyal and the life of the party.
“He’s just a big teddy bear that you can depend on," said Doug Rose, former Independence fire captain. "If you need him, he’s there."
Rose was Jameson's fire captain for 13 years at Station 5. Rose told 41 Action News that Jameson became family and spent many days with his son, Jacob Rose.
“David Jameson was the kindest, sweetest man that I know," Jacob Rose said.
For 23 years, Jameson worked for the Independence Fire Department, most recently as a hazardous material technician.
Thursday, Jameson died at the scene of an illegal burn in the 9600 block of 33rd Street South. On scene, he complained of shortness of breath and remained in the vehicle with another firefighter, according to a city spokesperson.
“You know, we don’t know if it was heart failure, if it was lack of oxygen, we have no idea," Jacob Rose said, "and especially since he’s a first responder, we don’t know if it was COVID."
Independence Fire Chief Doug Short said in a statement to 41 Action News that Jameson's passing was "a sudden and unexpected loss for the department and his family."
Independence Mayor Eileen Weir offered her condolences to Jameson's family and thanked the community for its support.
Jameson had 10 children but through his work, he gained an even bigger family.
“David was like a big brother to everybody," Rachel Dunning, a friend, said, "and it just, it’s hard knowing he’s gone."
Details of funeral and memorial services have not yet been announced.