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Family sues Loudoun County fire officials after man's death

Saturday - 8/3/2013, 4:06pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Help didn't arrive in time for Nathan Smith, and Loudoun County fire officials are to blame, says a family member of the man who died after fire crews had a disagreement that delayed their response to his house in July 2011.

Nannie Lewis is suing Loudon County fire officials after she says a controversy between career and volunteer firefighters at the Middleburg fire station caused her father to be denied prompt care, which led to his death. When a conflict between the firefighters arose on July 13, 2011, Loudoun County Department of Fire and Rescue Chief W. Keith Brower moved the career firefighters to other nearby stations, according to the Loudoun Times. Five volunteer firefighters were suspended after the dispute, the Loudoun Times reported.

Smith suffered from tightness in his chest early July 14 at his home in Upperville, yet no one was at the Middleburg rescue station to help him, according to the Loudoun Times.

Lewis says Smith's death could have been prevented if paramedics were at the station nearest his house.

Lewis filed the $29.1 million wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the beneficiaries of Smith's estate. Among the parties sued are John Brad Draisey, president of the Loudoun Volunteer Fire Department at the time of the incident, and Brower, who is also chief of the Middleburg Volunteer Fire Department in addition to Loudoun County Department of Fire and Rescue.

WTOP's Nick Iannelli contributed to this report. Follow @NickWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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