Louise volunteer firefighter Steven Henderson was like a father to many who worked beside him in the department.
“Steven was a gift from God,” said Tommy Johnston, chief of the Louise Volunteer Fire Department. “He’s home now.”
Johnston said he visited Henderson in his hospital room in Memorial Hermann in Houston on Saturday. The 60-year-old was experiencing a shortness of breath, but seemed fine otherwise.
“We laughed a little bit,” Johnston said. “I cried a lot.”
Ten minutes later, Henderson died, Johnston said.
Henderson had been in the hospital since Oct. 7, after he was struck along with another volunteer firefighter, Bobby Popp, of Louise, on Farm-to-Market Road 647 after responding to a tree fire. The two men were traveling north but had stopped on the road to check the truck’s front tires.
A southbound Dodge pickup, driven by another volunteer firefighter, John Roades, came too close to the men. Roades did not see the two men. The left front part of his truck hit Henderson, Popp and the firetruck. Both vehicles had their headlights on, but neither had emergency lights on, said Sgt. Stephen Woodard, of the Department of Public Safety.
DPS investigated the accident, Woodward said, but issued no citations.
Johnston said the crash was a tragic accident.
Since the crash, the fire department has responded to at least four calls, the chief said.
“Steven would want us to go 100 mph (in protecting the community),” he said, noting how Henderson was well-loved inside and outside the department. “We know we’ve got some big boots to fill.”
Johnston said Henderson was like a father to him.
Popp, the other volunteer firefighter injured, was released from the hospital early Tuesday morning, Johnston said. He said Popp, who can “make a good thing out of any bad situation,” is doing well.