Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Captain Terryson Jackson "typified what it meant to be a brother firefighter," an official said
Two people were killed when a Broward County Sheriff’s Office helicopter crashed into an apartment building in Pompano Beach on Monday morning, officials said.
Around 8:46 a.m. local time, “emergency personnel responded to a call of an aircraft alert located southwest of the Pompano Beach Airpark,” the Broward Sheriff’s Office said in a statement to PEOPLE. “The helicopter involved in the crash is a BSO Fire Rescue helicopter. Pompano Beach Fire Rescue transported two people to an area hospital.”
“Motorists are advised to avoid the area of North Dixie Highway and Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach," the statement continued.
In an update, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony confirmed the deaths of two people at the scene: Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Captain Terryson Jackson and a woman who lived in the building. At press time, her identity had not been released.
“With a heavy heart, we announce the untimely loss of a longtime employee, Captain Terryson Jackson," Sheriff Tony wrote in a statement on Facebook. "Captain Jackson proudly served the people of Broward County for 19 years. He began his fire rescue career in March 2004 in Deerfield Beach and joined the BSO family in October 2011 when the two agencies merged.”
“Captain Jackson typified what it meant to be a brother firefighter," BSO Fire Chief Timothy Keffe said at a press conference, according to ABC affiliate WPLG. "He perished during what he loved.”
Pompano Beach Fire Rescue said two other civilians and two Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue employees were injured and taken to Broward Health North Hospital. The hospital said their injuries were not life-threatening and they were in fair condition, BSO tells PEOPLE.
A witness captured the helicopter’s fiery crash on their cell phone, as reported by NBC affiliate WTVJ-TV. The chopper was engulfed in smoke and flames as it lost control, spinning around in the sky before plummeting.
The fire raged on a segment of the building following the crash, as captured by more witness footage, per the outlet.
According to officials, there was an engine failure approximately three minutes after the helicopter’s departure from the Pompano Beach Airpark, per Fox affiliate WSVN-TV.
BSO public information officer Veda Coleman-Wright said in a media release that the National Transportation Safety Board would join the investigation, which was already being assisted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“We’re asking for the public to be patient with us,” she said. “This part of Dixie Highway, I would imagine will be closed for most of the day. I’m sure investigators will be back out here tomorrow. Sheriff Gregory Tony has been on scene. He’s also gone over to the hospital to see about those who were transported.”
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“As a flight paramedic, he impacted the community daily, providing critical patients with the highest pre-hospital care,” the sheriff added in the Facebook release. “He consistently showed an unmatched passion for the job."
"He always provided expert care, compassion and reassurance to those during their most significant time of need," Tony continued. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jackson family during this difficult time. His BSO family will forever carry on his legacy.”
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