It was a difficult Friday morning for the Brownwood Fire Department as the 30-person staff gathered to grieve the death of Shannon Stone.
Stone, 39, fell over a railing in left field at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and landed on a concrete surface about 20 feet below. He was transported by ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where he was pronounced dead. Stone's 6-year-old son witnessed the fall.
Stone was a lieutenant and 18-year member of the Brownwood Fire Department. Those he worked alongside for years spent time with each other Friday morning, along with one of the department chaplains.
"You worry about him getting hurt fighting a fire, and I always worry about that with my guys, but this is something you don't expect," Brownwood fire chief Del Albright said. Albright said he found out about the tragedy when he received a call Thursday night from someone in the Arlington Fire Department wanting to confirm Stone worked in Brownwood.
Albright said Stone's son and any other family or friends that were at the game returned to Brownwood early Friday morning. Funeral arrangements have not been made.
"Whatever the family wants, we'll make it happen," Albright said. "We have traditions and ways of remembering our fallen brothers and sisters with honor guards and flag ceremonies. We'll talk with the family and see what we need to do."
Albright, 50, described Stone as a reliable firefighter and a consummate family man.
"He was so dedicated to his son and family and a dedicated firefighter," Albright said. "Whenever he was off duty, he was with his son. We had officer meetings and I would ask him to come in on his day off to attend those and nine out of 10 times he had his son with him. He was dependable. I left him in charge of many fires I went to because I knew he could handle it."
Albright said he presented Stone and another firefighter with a distinguished service medal in 2008 for rescuing an elderly woman from a "heavily involved" structure fire.
"The elderly woman didn't want to leave," Albright said. "She was conscious, but confused because of the smoke. Shannon calmed her down, got her under the smoke and got her out."
As a lieutenant, Stone was in charge of Station 2 and ran one of the engine companies, which included three other firefighters. Captain Robert Myers, 53, knew Stone for all 18 years of his service.
"I guess probably the most important thing to remember about him is he had a heart of gold," Myers said. "He had a rough exterior, but he'd do anything for anybody and he loved the fire service and the guys he worked with and his family. He had that little boy with him 24-7 when he was around."
Myers said Stone always seemed to know what to do when the pressure was high.
"He could stay calm and go into rough situations and get the job done," Myers said. "He was one of those guys. I've worked with him on car wrecks, fires, medical calls. He's one of those guys that cared about people and did what he could to take care of them."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.