Longtime volunteer firefighter dies while on the scene of a house fire in Marion, Va.


UPDATE (9/26) — A funeral service was underway on Saturday at Bradley’s Funeral Home to remember the late and longtime firefighter Charles “Dog” Woods, who died following a heart attack while on the scene of a house fire Wednesday morning.

Officials with the Adwolfe Volunteer Fire Department announced that one of their own passed away while on the scene of a house fire early Wednesday morning.

According to Adwolfe VFD Public Information Officer Charles Moser, a 34-year firefighter and EMT, Charles “Dog” Woods, was helping to fight a house fire on North Overlook Drive in Marion just after 2 a.m.

“At a little after 3, our fireman, Charles Woods, had taken one of our tankers to a local hydrant to fill up and to come back to the scene. When he arrived back to the scene, he parked the tanker and was awaiting his turn to dump water into the drop tanks for the firemen that were fighting fire. When it was his turn to dump, they contacted him, he did not respond, they at that time found him unresponsive inside of the truck,” Moser told News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais.

Woods was taken to the Smyth County Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“We believe, according to the physician at the local hospital, I believe it’s probably going to be sudden cardiac arrest,” Moser added.

The emergency response community in Marion, Virginia, quite literally lost a family member Wednesday.

“He was my brother-in-law,” Adwolfe VFD Fire Chief Steve Widner told News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais. “If one of us needs help, all of us jump in to help each other, that’s what it’s about.”

Fire officials at Adwolfe said Woods is survived by his wife and two sons, who are also firefighters.

“If the tones went off, he was usually the first one out the door. With a radio, he was the first one walking out of the station,” Widner added. “If you needed something, whether he knew you or didn’t know you, he was usually the first one en route to that whatever situation it was.”

Woods served Smyth County as a volunteer firefighter since 1986 and in a release fire officials wrote in part, “Woods will sorely be missed and will forever be remembered as Firefighter “Dog Woods.”

“There’s not enough or big enough number to say how much he is going to be missed. He is always on the radio,” April Keesling of the Marion Fire Department said. “You hear 7-91 en route to the station. He’ll holler at us if we’ve got a call in town and he’s anywhere near and he still has his EMT, so he’ll holler at us and tell us what we had. He’s opened the interstate for us to help us get around traffic jams to get to a wreck.”

“When we start talking about him, in the beginning he lived walking distance to the fire department and I did too, and our tones would go off and we would go racing, you know, to see who could get to the door handle first, and over the years, his stamina was something,” Mark Richardson, Volunteer Firefighter at Adwolfe VFD said. “He was a volunteer, he worked 24/7 as a volunteer and he always had the excitement to go out and answer calls.”

The visitation and funeral is set for Saturday, starting at 1 p.m., followed by a burial at Rose Lawn Cemetery in Adkins, Virginia.

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