November, 16, 2013, Perryville, MD. — On this sad day Cecil County emergency responders mourned the loss of one of their own, as David R. Barr, Jr. was laid to rest. Answering an alarm with the Community Fire Company of Perryville on October 25th Captain Barr was directing traffic around a crash scene on Route 40 near the Susquehanna River Bridge when he was struck by an automobile.
The veteran firefighter was rushed to Christiana Hospital in Wilmington where he passed away eight days later on Thursday, November 7. That Thursday afternoon a line of fire engines, ambulances, and rescue vehicles honored the memory of the Cecil County hero who laid down his life serving the public. In a heartfelt tribute, units from all over the county escorted the Patterson Funeral Home hearse returning the body of the Captain home as the service sadly prepared to say a final goodbye to one of their own. Police Officers stopped traffic along the route.
Hundreds of people attended the viewing Friday, November 15th, honoring the memory of the dedicated public servant and paying respects to the family. Firefighters flanked the casket, standing watch and changing guard with military precision and slow salutes to their fallen brother, as family, friends, and emergency services personnel crowded into Station 6.
Saturday the first responder who made the ultimate sacrifice was laid to rest at the West Nottingham Presbyterian Cemetery with full fire department honors. Over 600 friends, relatives, and colleagues attended as emergency workers from as far away Chincoteague Virginia said goodbye to a fallen brother.
To the mournful strains of bagpipes the flag-covered casket was lifted onto a fire engine for the trip to the cemetery. At 12:57 p.m. a dispatcher’s voice crackled over the emergency radio network, but the transmission was unanswered. After a few moments of silence the dispatch went out, Captain Barr had answered his last alarm and as the signal faded a siren broke the silence.
David dedicated his life to the fire service and to serving the citizens of Cecil County. Whenever there was an emergency or something needed to be done in the firehouse, he was one of the first to volunteer and was often tapped to lead important functions. In 1966, at the age of 16, he joined the Water Witch Fire Company of Port Deposit, where he served in many capacities. Professionally he worked as a federal fire fighter, serving 34 years at the Perry Point Veterans Hospital. When he retired from government service he had worked his way through the, ranks, serving as a watch commander holding the rank of Lieutenant. In 2000 he joined the Community Fire Company of Perryville and was serving there as a Captain when he answered the final call.
The Captain, who will be remembered as a man who loved his work, the fire service, and the community, is the third Cecil County firefighter to die in the line of duty. Steward W. Godwin, 56, of the North East Volunteer Fire Company collapsed and died at the scene of an airplane crash in Elkton on Dec. 7, 1963. Richard Loller, 37, of the Volunteer Fire Company of Chesapeake City died on May 18, 1956 at a fire call at an oil company in Galena.