With profound sadness, the Wayne County Fire Marshall’s Office announces the line of duty death of Chief James Radford from Polly Watson Volunteer Fire Department. Chief Radford was also a volunteer with the Fremont Volunteer Fire Department.
At approximately 1:06 p.m. Saturday, the Polly Watson Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to assist on a call in Wilson County. Chief James Radford responded to the fire station. As he arrived at the station, he suffered an apparent medical emergency and his vehicle collided with a parked vehicle in the fire station’s parking lot. Firefighters at the station quickly gained access to Chief Radford’s vehicle and began rendering aid. Wayne County EMS was dispatched and transported Chief Radford to Wayne UNC Hospital. Chief Radford passed away Saturday evening, surrounded by his family.
James Vernon Radford was born on September 4th, 1958, and proudly served both Polly Watson and Fremont Volunteer Fire Departments. Radford joined the Fremont Fire Department on February 8th, 1996, and served as a Lieutenant and Safety Officer. In 2019, James also joined the Polly Watson Fire Department. In 2021, James was promoted to Fire Chief of Polly Watson.
James thoroughly enjoyed serving as Fire Chief over this community and loved the Polly Watson Fire Department. The love for his department was always second to his love for his grandchildren. Members from both departments are shocked by these events and appreciate the outpouring of support from Wayne County and counties across the state.
The North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal and the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation will be notified to assist the family and the department. Funeral services are pending and will be released at a later date.