‘You could never ask for a better firefighter’ Community honors man who died in line of duty


RIDGELAND, S.c. (WSAV) – News 3 is learning more about a beloved firefighter who died on  Friday. Jasper County officials say 51-year-old Coleman Loadholt died in the line of duty. 

People who knew Loadholt called him ‘Coley’ for short. His fellow firefighters say he was a family man who loved motorcycles. On Sunday, a flag in front of Jasper County Fire-Rescue is at half-staff to honor Loadholt’s 14 years of service. 

“You could never ask for a better firefighter,” said Clay Graves, a battalion chief. “[He’s] a family man, a company man and a family also to Fire-Rescue. Everyone here is a family. So he’s a great brother.”

According to his obituary, Loadholt was a husband, brother, uncle and grandfather.

That’s why firefighters with the department are also hurting. Officials say Loadholt had a medical emergency while he was on duty. After a five-day fight in the hospital, he died in Charleston with his family by his side. 

“We always take it that we’re unstoppable, but when it’s your own, it’s different. It hits you hard,” said Graves who says he was heartbroken when he heard the news.

Hundreds of people across the Lowcountry had the same reaction. The department’s Facebook page is filled with comments about Loadholt’s dedication, easy-going personality, and professionalism. 

Loadholt earned Firefighter of the Year awards in  Brunson. He was a volunteer firefighter and captain with Brunson Volunteer Fire Department.

He also earned a Life Saver Award in Jasper County.

On Tuesday, his brothers and sisters at Jasper County Fire-Rescue will take his body from Peeples-Rhoden Funeral Home in a Jasper County unit. A service will follow at Nicholas Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. 

“Everyone is a little stunned. It’s something that was unknown, so we’re stunned. But we’re doing the best we can. And it’s going to be trying for a while,” said Graves.

The family suggests you send memorials to Brunson Fire Department or the Jasper County Fire and Rescue Auxilliary Fund. Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday night.

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