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Johnson County firefighter dies on family skiing vacation

Jim Bell, a firefighter with Johnson County’s Consolidated Fire District No. 2, died of injuries related to a skiing accident Friday. He is pictured here helping the Greensburg, Kan., community recover after a tornado. Members of this destroyed church had left a sign pleading for the return of the bell.
Jim Bell, a firefighter with Johnson County’s Consolidated Fire District No. 2, died of injuries related to a skiing accident Friday. He is pictured here helping the Greensburg, Kan., community recover after a tornado. Members of this destroyed church had left a sign pleading for the return of the bell. Johnson County Consolidated Fire District No. 2 Facebook

A Johnson County firefighter died Friday after suffering injuries during a skiing vacation with his family in Colorado.

Jim Bell, a firefighter with the Consolidated Fire District No. 2, reportedly experienced a severe head injury earlier this week while skiing. Bell died Friday morning with his family by his side after being put on life support, according to Training Chief Steve Chick Jr.

“He was a go-getter. He was a hard charger. He lived life to its fullest,” Chick said. “That was just the way he went about life.”

Bell, 44, had worked for the fire district for 16 years and was coming up on his 17th. He is survived by his two young sons and his wife.

Chick said Bell loved his family and spent his free time outside with his sons and being active.

“He wasn’t a sit-around kind of guy,” Chick said.

On Friday, members of the Consolidated Fire District No. 2 heard the news of Bell’s death and spent the day reflecting on Bell’s service and telling stories about him, Chick said.

On Facebook, the district shared a photo of Bell on a search and rescue mission in a Greensburg, Kan., in the wake of a tornado several years ago. At a Greensburg church, Bell and his crew recovered an actual bell after church members left a piece of metal with the words “Save Bell” sprayed on it outside the wreckage. They would go on to recover another church bell, Chick said, and Bell got a kick out of holding up the “Save Bell” sign.

“He took great pride in being able to be involved in operations like that,” Chick said.

Services have not been finalized yet. The fire district plans to set up an online fundraiser for the Bell family.

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