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Examiner
  • Fort Osage Fire loses first in line of duty with Hollingsworth's death

  • When describing Assistant Chief Harold Hollingsworth, Fort Osage Fire Protection District Chief John Yocum kept repeating one word - positive.

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  • When describing Assistant Chief Harold Hollingsworth, Fort Osage Fire Protection District Chief John Yocum kept repeating one word - positive.
    “He was the guy who always looked at the positive side,” Yocum said during a press conference Monday. “That was one thing that he taught me early on in my career - don’t worry about something until it actually occurs.”
    Hollingsworth, 47, of Lexington, Mo. was killed in the line of duty Sunday night. He was responding to a structure fire on Atherton Road, just north of Buckner at about 9:40 p.m. when the Ford Expedition he was driving went off the road and hit a tree. He was taken to Centerpoint Medical Center, where he died shortly thereafter.
    Although the Missouri State Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash, severe thunderstorms were moving through the area at the time. Yocum, who was also responding to the structure fire, said the roads were wet and slick, creating hazardous driving conditions. Fire crews were following behind Hollingsworth at the time of the crash and reported the accident. Half of the fire protection district’s personnel responded to the fire, which was extinguished quickly, while the other half assisted Hollingsworth. Mutual aid was also requested.
    Hollingsworth leaves behind a wife, Allison, and two adult children.
    This is the first death in the line of duty in the history of the Fort Osage Fire Protection District.
    “He will be deeply missed by this organization and will be deeply missed by the community,” Yocum said. “He loved the fire service, but the one thing he loved more was his wife and two children.”
    Hollingsworth has a combined 25 years in the fire service and come to Fort Osage in 1997. He was promoted to assistant chief in 2011. He was also a member of the 110th Combat Engineering Battalion of the Missouri Army National Guard and was very active in the Lexington community, serving on the board of education for a brief time and being involved with the Boy Scouts.
    Yocum said Hollingsworth was a “positive role model” to everyone in the Fort Osage Fire Protection District and was “always supportive.”
    “I will miss his sense of humor and his optimism. He was one of my best friends, and I will always cherish that,” he said. “We are a family. When one of us is hurting, we are all hurting. We will help each other get through this.”
    Funeral services for Hollingsworth will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Lexington High School. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, also at the high school. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Walker-Nadler-Fuller Funeral Home in Lexington.
     
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