Funeral to be held Sunday for NJ firefighter killed while responding to call

Funeral services are being held Sunday for a volunteer firefighter in New Jersey who was killed in a single-car crash on Christmas morning as she responded to a call.

Police in Hamilton Township say 21-year-old Natalie Dempsey of Mays Landing lost control of her car shortly before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and struck a guardrail. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

While Dempsey's crew was returning from the fire, the went to the crash scene not knowing the victim was one of their own.

Those firefighters told FOX 29 they were mortified upon realizing it was Dempsey.

MORE: NJ firefighter on way to answer call dies in single-car crash

Chief Jay Davenport of the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Department described the department as "a close-knit family," saying, "This one has hit us hard."

Davenport said Dempsey had been a volunteer firefighter for three years, hoped to become a police officer and attended the police academy over the summer.

Dempsey was also slated to become the vice president of the firehouse.

She was "a beautiful person... a light in the sky," Davenport said.

Services for Dempsey are being held from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Absegami High School in Galloway Township.

"We are sending our girl off Loud and proud," the department posted on Facebook.

The services are open to all firefighters and apparatus who would like to pay their respects.