Community mourns volunteer firefighter, US soldier killed in ATV crash

Local News

There were a lot of heavy hearts Monday as firefighters cleaned up their station to get ready to say goodbye to one of their own.

“We’ve had chat sessions, crying sessions and talking sessions,” Joe Racz, fire chief at the Ashville Volunteer Fire Company, said. “We’ve head every CJ story that has ever been told, but that’s how we stay strong, we support each other.”

CJ Maines joined the Ashville Volunteer Fire Company when he was just 14-years-old. He started in the junior program and couldn’t have been happier when he got his senior membership. He spent 5-years with the department and created unbreakable bonds.

“He was family to all of us, but he was like one of my own kids,” Chief Racz told us.

Maines served our community, but also our country. He enlisted in the army right after school.

He was home on leave when he was tragically killed in an ATV accident. It happened on Bem Road in Cambria County around 7 a.m. Saturday. Police said he lost control of his ATV and rolled it in a yard alongside the road.

The teen had just celebrated his 19th birthday and had a lot of life still ahead.

“He was about to be deployed,” Racz said. “His unit was getting ready to go overseas, which he was excited about. It shows the kind of determination and kind of person you’re dealing with. He was actually looking forward to it and was proud of the fact that he was going to get his chance.”

A public viewing will be held June 5, 2018 from 2-4 and 6-8 at the Gibbons Funeral Home. The funeral will take place June 6 at 11 a.m.

Maines’s family is asking donations be made to the Ashville Volunteer Fire Company in lieu of flowers.

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