Community mourns loss of firefighter

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TOLEDO, Ill. (WCIA) — The Toledo community is in mourning after a popular member of their fire department died Sunday.

Firefighter Chad Sponsel died after fighting brain cancer for two years. He leaves behind his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons, Lucas and Lance.

Sponsel worked in Greenup before moving to the Toledo Fire Protection District four years ago. He was named Assistant Chief in his time there. Over 200 people showed up to a celebration of life event held at his home Sunday. Many of his fellow firefighters were there as well. His father says he always grew up around the firehouse.

“That’s all he ever wanted to be, was a fireman,” says Robert Sponsel, a firefighter in Greenup. “I’m very proud and honored to him follow in my footsteps. I’m sure gonna miss him.”

Sponsel and his family spent his final months traveling around the country trying to finish his bucket list. They made it to Gettysburg, the Smokey Mountains, and the Gulf of Mexico. Toledo Fire Chief Chuck Layton says his family is already preparing to live out his legacy.

“That little boy Lucas is just all about fireman,” says Layton. “He’s going to be right there following. He’s got some big shoes to fill but he’ll be able to do it. And it’s an awesome thing to watch that.”

Arrangements are being made for a firefighters funeral in Toledo. Greenup and Neoga have already said they’ll send trucks for the procession. There, Sponsell will ride in his favorite fire truck one last time.

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