Community honors assistant fire chief killed while directing traffic in Lancaster County

The volunteer firefighter served his community for over 20 years

LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - The Van Wyck Assistant Fire Chief who lost his life while serving his community was remembered today at a memorial service.

59-year-old Dennis Straight was killed while directing traffic at an accident near South Carolina 521.

Straight volunteered with the Van Wyck Fire Department in Lancaster County for over 20 years.

“We lose a brother, we lost one of our own, it’s hard,” said Larry Philip Pegram, Captain at McDonald Green Volunteer Fire Department.

That brother, Dennis Straight, was known for his willingness to serve selflessly as a volunteer fireman.

“If you don’t have it in your heart you won’t be really good at it. And that’s what set Dennis apart he had a really big heart for this,” said Pegram. “Dennis' character will be truly missed in this fire service.”

The Lancaster firefighters say they are all family, so to honor the brother they lost, fire trucks from all across the county came to the memorial service today.

“Being a volunteer fireman in the fire service is a brotherhood unlike any.," said Pegram. "This is the least we can do for the man that’s gone and left us.”

Straight was remembered by family, friends and community members as a giving, caring man who was fun to be around.

“Dennis was a true servant," said Van Wyck Fire Captain Mark Carnes.

Straight’s wife, Jane, was present in the audience but not yet ready to speak about losing her best friend.

The music played included Dennis and Jane’s favorite Psalm, 51, and traditional bagpipes played by firemen.

“The final send off for a fireman should be the highest honor,” said Pegram.

That final send off to honor Straight included South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordering flags on buildings to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset to honor Dennis Straight for his service to the community.

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