LODD-RIP Delaware City Firefighter/EMT-B Michelle Smith

Delaware City Firefighter Struck by Vehicle Dies From Injuries

Volunteer's Family and Fire Company Family Deal With This Tragic Loss

Delaware City, DE – On Monday morning, Dec. 22nd, the Delaware City Fire Company was informed of the tragic loss of Firefighter Michelle Smith, 29, who succumbed to the traumatic injuries she sustained on Dec. 20th (Saturday). Michelle was assisting with the care of a critically injured patient at the scene of a motorcycle accident on DuPont Highway. This is the first line of duty death for the Delaware City Fire Company in it's 121 year history.

Michelle L. Smith has served the Delaware City Fire Company and the Delaware City Ladies Auxiliary for over five years, holding the Secretary position with the Ladies Auxiliary. She also serves with the Volunteer Hose Company of Middletown, DE. Michelle is survived by her 12 year old daughter. A graduate of Middletown High School, Michelle worked for Coventry Healthcare.

“While we are hurting inside, we are thankful for all of the kind words and offers for assistance we have received”, says Department spokesperson Dave Carpenter, Jr. Michelle was a truly positive person that specifically became a member to provide assistance to the community, through fire prevention and emergency medical services. Michelle was the Co-Chair of the department's fire prevention committee and recently assisted with the fire company open house. She cherished the department's recent receipt of the Edward McCormack Award, presented by the Delaware State Fire Prevention Commission.

President Wally Poppe stated that “Firefighter Smith typified Delaware City Fire Company as a firefighter and as a member of the Ladies Auxiliary. She took great pride in her numerous contributions, including emergency response, fire prevention and community awareness.” The President. Chief Rosseel, and the Department wish to extend their condolences to Michelle's family, friends, and the Volunteer Hose Company who are all grieving over her death.



January 2, 2009
Contact: Dave Carpenter, Jr., PIO
302-893-4309 (Cell)
302-834-9336 (Station)

Line of Duty Funeral Services Itinerary -
Delaware City Firefighter Michelle L. Smith

Delaware City Fire Company Memorial Hall, 815 Fifth Street, Delaware City, DE

Traffic Detail personnel should report by 12:00 pm. Traffic control and parking will be in place by 1:00 pm. Parking at the Memorial Hall is being reserved for immediate family, civilian visitors, and Delaware City Fire Company members. Streets within the Delaware City area and surrounding area will be under travel restrictions.

Parking for the public and emergency personnel is available at two locations:
Valero Refinery Parking Lot, 4550 Wrangle Hill Road
Gunning Bedford Middle School, 801 Cox Neck Road

Shuttle buses will start at 1:45 pm and run from these two locations to Delaware City Fire Company Memorial Hall until the conclusion of the viewing. All attendees will be returned to the satellite parking facilities regardless of the ending time of the viewing.

Delaware City Fire Company Memorial Hall, 815 Fifth Street, Delaware City, DE

7:30 am: Traffic, Safety and Staging personnel briefing
8:00 am: Traffic and Staging areas in place
8:30 am: All emergency services personnel and apparatus participating are requested to arrive via Rt. 13 to Cox Neck Road, to Clinton Street for direction to staging areas.
9:15 am: Briefing for all uniformed personnel, Engine Bay of Fire Station
10:00 am: Funeral Services begin, the following times are approximate
10:30 am Final respects of Delaware City and uniformed participants.
11:00 am Full Procession begins at Delaware City Fire Hall with Last Alarm Honors.

Procession to follow Route 9/72 from Delaware City's Fifth Street, to State Route 1 and south on Route 1 to South Smyrna Exit 114, to Rt. 13 Northbound to State Route 12 (Smyrna-Leipsic Road) to the entrance of Odd Fellows Cemetery.

12:00 pm Graveside Ceremony and Honors.
1:30 pm Depart Graveside for Luncheon Reception at Delaware City Fire Company for family and participants. Apparatus should return to their original staging areas to park.


Fire Companies/ES Agencies wishing to participate in Viewing or Funeral Services:

FUNERAL: We are requesting that departments limit their participation in the funeral services and procession to one large apparatus from each agency. Personnel of any amount are welcomed to attend along with the apparatus and company transport vehicles (vans, suburbans, Chief's vehicles). Please have all personnel in Class A uniform with appropriate accessories for respect and mourning. All agencies are requested to arrive with apparatus into Delaware City via Route 13 to Cox Neck Road/Clinton Street east to Delaware City. Apparatus and personnel will be directed to staging and to the services by Police and Fire Police personnel. All attendees and vehicles are requested to arrive NO LATER than 8:30 am. Personnel are to gather in the Apparatus Bays of Delaware City Fire Company for a 9:15 am briefing.

The family and Delaware City Fire personnel with immediate mutual aid departments will be in the Memorial Hall. All other personnel and visitors will be in the Apparatus Bay and accompanying tent where services will be broadcast via closed circuit television.

**RSVP your attendance for viewing and funeral services to dcfcpio15@msn.com. Please specify department name, company address, contact name, and approximate number of personnel attending.

Dignitaries wishing to participate in Viewing or Funeral Services:

Please contact PIO Carpenter at the cell number above to confirm attendance and determine logistics for parking and escort information.

Media wishing to attend the Viewing or Funeral Services:

Any media outlets and personnel wishing to attend the viewing, funeral and internment services are requested to email PIO Carpenter at dcfcpio15@msn.com. All media personnel are requested to have an issued media pass for access to the staging area at both the Station and at the Cemetery. Media staging for viewing and funeral services will be at 800 Fifth Street, Delaware City, Delaware. Media staging for the Internment will be on Route 13 Northbound, in Smyrna. Parking of vehicles is available at 351 S. Main Street, Smyrna or 2 Sunnyside Road, Smyrna.

Out of respect for the family and according to their wishes, media will NOT be allowed in the viewing or inside during the memorial services. Media kits will be provided to representatives on Monday that will include information on ceremonial honors, and personnel authorized to speak on behalf of Delaware City Fire Company to provide comment concerning Michelle Smith.

Fire Companies/ES Agencies wishing to provide Cover Up for Delaware City Fire/EMS:

Fire Companies or EMS Agencies wishing to assist Delaware City Fire Company with providing Fire/Rescue and EMS Services for our district from Sunday the 4th to Wednesday the 7th due to Firefighter Smith's and Past Chief Poppe's funerals, please email dcfcpio15@msn.com or call Special Operations Coordinator Matthew Netsch 302-607-1080. The New Castle County Ambulance Association is also assisting with coordinating cover up of EMS services during this time.

Please check our website, http://www.dcfc15.com, for up to date information.

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Comment by Anthony Bernal on January 5, 2009 at 10:55am
My prayers and thoughts go out to the family and the department. Again the one that should be suffering, is not. The victim and the family suffer, due to a individual that has a history and has no value to life. I hope he gets what is comming to him and then some.
Comment by Junbug on January 4, 2009 at 10:34pm
Here is what happen to him!

A man allegedly involved in a hit-and-run crash last week that injured a motorcyclist and killed a Delaware City firefighter has been charged with murder.

State police detectives Tuesday re-arrested Joseph M. Taye Jr., 28, of the 600 block of Belgian Drive, Bear, charging him with first-degree murder in the death of 30-year-old Michelle Smith and first-degree assault for injuries to motorcyclist Edward Reiss, 30, of New Castle, who Smith was helping at the scene of a Dec. 20 accident.

Those charges, announced late Tuesday, were upgraded from the less serious charges of manslaughter and second-degree assault Taye initially faced when he was arrested and jailed last week.

Taye, who also faces charges of driving with a revoked license, leaving the scene of a crash and failing to report a crash, initially posted his $37,000 bail and was released the day after his arrest. He now is being held without bail on the new charges in Young Correctional Institution.

Cpl. Gary Fournier, a state police spokesman, said the state attorney general reviewed the original manslaughter charges and upgraded them to murder, because Taye recklessly caused Smith's death while she was "performing her official duty." Delaware law permits the first-degree murder charge in cases where a law-enforcement officer, corrections employee or firefighter is killed in the line of duty.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office would not explain why Taye was not charged originally with first-degree murder, based on that law, saying the office does not comment on pending cases.

Reiss, who suffered severe internal injuries, remains hospitalized in Christiana Hospital in serious but stable condition, Fournier said.

According to police, Taye was at the wheel of his girlfriend's 2004 silver BMW on Dec. 20, driving south at a high speed on U.S. 13, when he sideswiped a marked county police car stationed at the scene of a motorcycle crash Reiss was involved in.

He allegedly lost control of the car and plowed into Reiss and Smith, who was on the ground attending to Reiss' injuries.

Taye then reportedly stopped the BMW on the right shoulder of the highway beyond the crash site, where a light-colored Honda Accord pulled alongside the BMW. A passenger in the Honda allegedly pulled Taye, who is paraplegic, out of the BMW and put him in the Honda, and sped away, police said.

Detectives still are searching for the Honda and the occupants.

Smith, the mother of a 12-year-old daughter and a volunteer firefighter for the Delaware City and the Volunteer Hose Company of Middletown fire companies, was taken to Christiana Hospital, where she died two days later.

A viewing for Smith is scheduled for Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Delaware City Fire Company Memorial Hall, 815 Fifth St., Delaware City.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Monday in the fire hall immediately followed by a firefighter honor ceremony and procession to Smyrna's Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Taye is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 9 in New Castle County Municipal Court.

According to police records in Elkton, Md., Taye is suspected of driving the same silver BMW in a Nov. 30, 2007, hit-and-run crash that injured two women, one seriously.

In the wreckage of that accident, police recovered a 4-foot-long, thin wooden stick, which Taye apparently used to operate the gas and brake pedals because he is paralyzed from the waist down.

Police said the vehicle was not equipped for a handicapped driver.

Taye, meanwhile, was not allowed to be driving because his driver's license is revoked in Delaware.

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