Victims include 2006 North grad, seasoned veteran
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Victor Isler and Justin Monroe represented bookends as firefighters.
Isler, 40, was the transplanted Yankee veteran ó a former paramedic with maybe the most famous of departments: FDNY.
Monroe, 19, was the native Southerner, a homegrown kid who seemed to be born to fight fires.
On the last day of their lives Friday morning, the two men shared a hose as they attacked the fierce fire that destroyed Salisbury Millwork’s office and production facilities.
They didn’t survive, and the two became the first Salisbury firefighters since 1971 ó and only the second and third in the department’s history ó to be killed in the line of duty.
Their career paths became intertwined.
Monroe joined the Salisbury Fire Department June 7, 2007.
Isler became a Salisbury fireman four days later.
They served on the same truck in the same unit, Quint 2.
A part-time Salisbury Firefighter I, Monroe also served as a Spencer firefighter and as a lieutenant with the Millers Ferry Volunteer Department.
A North Rowan High graduate, he was pursuing a degree in fire science technology at Central Piedmont Community College.
Monroe started his firefighting career as a junior volunteer with Millers Ferry.
“He had a passion for fire fighting. That was his life, to fight fires,” said Greg Shue, who served as chief at Millers Ferry for five years.
Although Monroe lived in Spencer, the town’s department didn’t have a junior program when he turned 16 years old. Millers Ferry did, and he signed up.
Shue was at work Friday when he got word by Nextel that Monroe had died in the mill fire.
He described it as an awful moment.
“He was in the junior program when I was chief. I got to watch him come through. You could see the passion in him. He was a very dedicated young man.”
“Anything you ask him to do, he did with no complaints. He was a doing person,” said Shue.
Monroe was the son of Lisa and Eddie Monroe.
When he was 17, he survived a grinding crash on North Main Street in Salisbury when his sport utility vehicle was struck by a U-Haul truck.
Monroe was hospitalized a couple of days after being flown to Carolinas Medical Center.Isler and his wife lived in Harrisburg with their two children, a 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter.
He had been commuting to Salisbury from his Harrisburg home and was a Firefighter I.
Mayor Susan Kluttz said the entire community “mourns the loss of two outstanding individuals who gave their lives in service to our city.
“We ask for your continued thoughts ad prayers for our firefighter family.”
A city press release Friday night added, “The city of Salisbury and the Salisbury Fire Department family covet your prayers and respect for our firefighters, their families and those affected by this tragic incident.”