Westchester Firefighter Dies of Heart Attack at House Fire in Mount Vernon

Firefighters were responding to a blaze at 124 Lorraine Ave.

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    54-year-old firefighter died from a heart attack while fighting an electrical fire in Mount Vernon. (Published Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011)

    A longtime Mount Vernon firefighter died early Thursday after apparently suffering a heart attack at the scene of a house fire.

    Fire Commissioner Noah Lighty identified the firefighter as 54-year-old Kevin Townes, a 25-year member of the department.

    Townes was responding to a blaze at 124 Lorraine Ave. at about 4 a.m., and had just put on his gear when he collapsed, officials said.

    Townes had a wife and three children, and also worked as Mount Vernon's fire inspector.

    Donato Christiano, a firefighter at the Oak Street house where Townes worked, described him as "tough on the outside, but real sweet on the inside."

    "He was a big teddy bear," said Mayor Clinton Young.