Paris firefighter killed in motorcycle crash

PARIS, Tex. (KXII) - Paris firemen are mourning the loss of a brother.

He was killed in an off duty motorcycle crash Sunday. Responding firemen realized he was one of their own.

"A lot of people think firemen are tough and we are. But when something like this happens, you just figure out you're not as tough as you think you are," said firefighter Jordan Blackshear.

Sunday morning the Paris Fire Department was rocked with the news that Layton Slade Baker, 24, was killed in a crash.

"It's a big loss," Blackshear said.

Police said a passerby noticed a motorcycle on top of a man in a ditch on Southeast Loop 286.

That person called 911 and Paris firemen responded.

Police said there were no other cars nearby.

They are investigating what caused the crash.

"We didn't lose an employee. We lost a brother. He was definitely our family," said driver Connor Wideman.

Baker worked as a firefighter in Paris for more than two years.

The firefighters on his shift said he was the life of the party.

"He had these awful purple and gold overalls and this whole LSU tiger get up that he would wear up here after a big LSU game," said firefighter Brian Ford.

Driver Dustin Huff said Baker was always willing to help and striving to become a better firefighter.

They said he had a strong Christian faith and was known for his joyful presence.

"It's hard to replace a guy like that who always wanted to step up and always wanted to learn more," Huff said.

"Never met a stranger. Just a great person, had a heart of gold," Ford said.

"He lit up a room when he walked in. Always a big smile, full of energy," Blackshear said.

"Always laughing, always laughing," said firefighter Stoney Musgrove.

So they'll keep laughing and sharing memories. They said that is what Baker would want.

But Blackshear said it is a long road ahead to move on.

"There's so much on these trucks. There's so much in these stations that remind us of him. There's definitely a hole and he'll always be missed," he said.

Paris Fire is holding a t-shirt fundraiser with all of the proceeds going to Baker's family.