Firefighter dies in the line of duty

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MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) – Central Illinois was hit with severe weather over several days. Sunday night was no different. Storms covered Mattoon and left a lot of things under water.

“All of a sudden just came down. It started coming into our basement, our road got completely washed out. I got a call from the father-in-law who had water coming into his car going down 19th. It sounded like every place was starting to be boats instead of cars,” Drew Banks, the owner of Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken said.

Most of the water cleared out by the next day. Only a few homes were left with standing water in their yards. Others were dealing with damage from water that got inside.

“I was half worried, if we weren’t on a hill, about water coming into our store,” Banks said.

Throughout the night, first responders were getting calls about stuck vehicles and slide offs.

New firefighter, 21-year-old Mehdi Mourad, from the Wabash Fire Protection District was called to one of those.

“Mattoon fire was with us. While they were on scene they got called to a wreck on 188 and we found out later it was one of our firemen who was responding to the call that was involved in the wreck,” Gary Kepley, Public relations and safety officer for Wabash Fire Protection District said.

State police said Mourad lost control of his car and hit the back of a parked car on the interstate. He was taken to the hospital and later died.

It was only his second call with the department.

“He had relayed to his family how excited he was to be on the fire department to be a part of it no longer than him being on. He was going to be a great asset to this department. We could tell,” Kepley said.

Wabash Fire Protection District said arrangement for Mourad are in the works.

They said if you want to place flowers and have a memorial to do so at the fire station. They said it’s too dangerous on the interstate.

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