DPS now investigating death of Eastland firefighter

Gregory Simmons

Credit: WFAA

DPS now investigating death of Eastland firefighter

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WFAA

Posted on April 16, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 16 at 8:26 PM

EASTLAND, Texas — The Texas Department of Public Safety is now investigating the death of Eastland volunteer firefighter Greg Simmons.

Simmons, 51, was found dead in a ditch Friday afternoon as he helped battle the wildfire near Eastland.

According to Eastland city officials, a preliminary autopsy report said Simmons' death was caused "by an accidental blow to his upper torso." Saturday's statement called the development a "tragic turn" in the investigation.

State Trooper Phillip "Sparky" Dean said Saturday authorities don't yet know if Simmons died in a crash of his fire truck, or if he was fatally injured after getting out of the vehicle.

On Friday, Justice of the Peace James King had said that Simmons apparently was overcome by smoke before falling in a ditch.

Officials said the DPS will work with the state fire marshal in the investigation.

"Unfortunately, this investigation is going to take considerable time to accomplish," DPS spokesman Sgt. David Foster said in a written statement. "Results will be released as soon as they become available."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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