LODD: Neb. firefighter-paramedic suffers medical emergency battling wildfire

Ponca Hills Volunteer Fire Department Firefighter-Paramedic Dennis M. Bender, 78, was Nebraska's longest-serving paramedic

Duty Death: Dennis M. Bender - [Omaha, Nebraska]

End of Service: 03/10/2021

By Laura French

OMAHA, Neb. — A Nebraska firefighter-paramedic died due to a medical emergency while battling a wildland fire on Wednesday. 

Ponca Hills Volunteer Fire Department Firefighter-Paramedic Dennis M. Bender, 78, was responding to his third wildland fire call of the day when he experienced a medical emergency and was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The exact cause of his death remains under investigation. 

Bender had been with the Ponca Hills Volunteer Fire Department for 50 years and was a paramedic for 45 years, making him Nebraska's longest-serving paramedic, according to the Omaha World-Herald. He was married to his wife Patty for 52 years until her death on March 10, 2020, exactly one year before his own death. 

He is survived by his three children, George, Scott and Shelly. 

"Denny's legacy did not end on March 10th. For over the last year-and-one-half, the Ponca Hills VFD has been blessed with an influx of new members. Dennis was instrumental in their training and passing along his many years of knowledge and experience," Ponca Hills Volunteer Fire Department Chief Joel Sacks said in a statement. "His vast knowledge of firefighting and paramedic medicine will never be replaced, but the personnel he mentored will carry his legacy for years to come." 


It is with deep sadness that we share the Level 1 LODD of Ponca Hills Firefighter/ Paramedic Dennis Bender. ...

Posted by Nebraska Serious Injury & Line of Duty Death Response Team on Thursday, March 11, 2021


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