Family of Fallen Firefighter Speaks Out

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01-01-07 Firefighters from across the state came to pay their respects to their fellow firefighter Phillip Townsend, who was killed while fighting a blaze in Denison on Saturday.

Monday, Townsend's immediate family spoke with Emi Fitzgerald about how they would like to see him remembered.

A headline from Townsend's personal web page states "I fight what you fear."

His family members say, his passion for helping the community motivated him and his fearless attitude.

Townsend's cousin, Tracy Traweek said, "He put his whole heart into everything he did. He really was a model guy."

A man who modeled his life after family tradition, embracing the chance to serve his community.

"His dad has been a firefighter since I was this tall I can't tell you how many years. And Phillip, he wanted to be just like him and I think that was something, the tradition, that drove him to do what he did," Traweek said.

Townsend joined the Denison Fire Department two years ago, after spending time in the army. He was also working on getting his paramedic's license, but those dreams were cut short this past weekend.

Saturday morning, while fighting a fire at a Denison business, an awning fell on him. Townsend died of his injuries at a local hospital a few hours later.

His life was lost, so was the building he was trying to save from flame.
"That's going to be the hardest part, the store that burned away, going and that's where he was fighting. He was doing his job. He was doing his duty," said Randy Sparks, Townsend's brother-in-law.

Townsend's family shared with us a slideshow that chronicles his life, to help friends and family remember him. He leaves behind three boys, seven year old Maddox, two year old Rylen and 17 month old Tristan.

Townsend's cousin and brother-in-law both say, right now, Townsend's children are in shock. But as the painful reality sets in, they will learn about their father, through his heroic actions.

"He was a great father...he loved his boys," Sparks said.

A father, brother, son and a man who loved life.

"You look at the pictures and all you see is a smile on his face," said Sparks.

IF you would like to help Townsend's family, you can make a donation to a fund in his name at the Independent Bank in Denison.