A fan dying at a sporting event is a tragedy no matter what the extenuating circumstances. That Shannon Stone, who fell to his death during Thursday's game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington while reaching for a ball thrown into the stands, was a lieutenant for a local fire department only seems to make it worse. His co-firefighters at the Brownwood Fire Department seem to be taking the news especially hard:
"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.
The Brownwood firefighters spent time with each other on Friday and had a chaplain on hand. Now, they are turning their attention to the family, including Stone's 6-year-old son, who reportedly witnessed the fall.
Albright said Stone was a consummate family man and spent most of his free time with his son. Stone was also lauded for being a dedicated firefighter, often bringing his son to the station if he was called into a meeting on his off-days. Captain Robert Mayers worked with Stone during his 18-year tenure with the department:
"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."