First responders across Haywood County are mourning a devastating loss Friday morning as one of their own was killed in the line of duty.

Captain Claud G. Messer, 74, died Friday, Sept. 20, after he was involved in a wreck on US 276, north of Maggie Valley while driving his fire apparatus to an emergency traffic accident call.

Captain Messer was a founding member of Jonathan Creek Fire and Rescue in 1986 and he was the Chairman of the department’s Board of Directors.

“We lost a brother today. He was a pillar of this community and I can’t think of a time where he wasn’t helping someone,” said Jonathan Creek Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Messer. “I cannot remember a time we didn’t talk at least two times a day. We are devastated.”

For further information regarding the details of the wreck investigation, please contact Sgt. Ray Blanton with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Below is a photo of a plaque that is displayed in the department.

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