Community mourns death of volunteer firefighter

19-year-old James Derrick Henson, Jr
19-year-old James Derrick Henson, Jr

BLACKSBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — An Upstate community is mourning the loss of a fireman killed in a motorcycle wreck.

Friends and family gathered Monday at the Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department for a vigil honoring Derrick Henson.

The 19-year-old was killed Sunday when a car crashed into his motorcycle.

The S.C. Highway Patrol says the wreck happened when the driver of a car crossed the center line off Oak Grove Road in Cherokee County.

Loved ones say Henson comes from a family of volunteer firemen and began serving in 2012.

“Derrick was a very selfless person – he wanted to help. From the moment I met him – I could just tell there was a fire in his eyes. He wanted to help,” Jerry Pera said.

Henson’s mother, Misty Wright, said the family is struggling to accept his sudden loss.

“I think we’re all just really numb right now. We’re just having a hard time believing that he’s gone,” Wright said.

Family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Nazareth Baptist Church in Blacksburg.

The funeral will start at 3 p.m. Friday at the church located at 1156 Ninety Nine Island Road.

Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department asks the community to keep Henson’s family in their prayers.