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St. Louis Captain John Kemper dies following structure fire

Ashley Lisenby & Erin Heffernan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A St. Louis fire captain who sustained injuries while fighting a fire during the Fourth of July holiday has died.

Capt. John Kemper, 59, died Wednesday after he was injured while battling a structural fire in the 3600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue early the morning of July 5, the department said.

Kemper didn’t suffer any burns. He was admitted to the hospital with what was believed to be a shoulder injury.

The longtime fire fighter was released from the hospital on Friday, department spokesman Capt. Garon Mosby said Wednesday. Kemper had not been cleared to return to work.


Captain Kemper suffered what was thought to be a shoulder injury while battling a structure fire during the early morning hours of July 5th — a fire that was believed to have been caused by illegal fireworks. Upon evaluation at an emergency department, it was determined that he was actually suffering a heart attack, and he was taken to surgery.

Captain Kemper was 1 of 4 Saint Louis firefighters transported during a 12-hour period for injuries sustained while fighting numerous fires suspected of being a result of illegal fireworks.

Captain Kemper died at his home one week later from apparent complications of the heart attack. He was 59 years old and had served the citizens of Saint Louis for over 24 years. He is survived by his wife and adult daughter.

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