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Family reveals firefighter who died earlier this week was victim of suicide, urges PTSD awareness

By Shain Bergan

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    INDEPENDENCE, Missouri (KCTV) — The Independence firefighter and paramedic who was found dead in his home earlier this week died of suicide, the city’s mayor announced Wednesday morning.

Mayor Eileen Weir made the announcement on Twitter, while sharing that firefighter Chad Sappenfield’s family “has made the courageous decision to share his story of PTSD and tragic death by suicide.” The mayor also shared the 24-hour crisis hotline number: 1-888-279-8188.

Independence Fire Chief Doug Short had issued a statement Monday afternoon notifying the public of Sappenfield’s sudden death. Sappenfield had been with the fire department for 13 years.

“Chad’s contributions to the fire department, the fire department family and the City of Independence will never be forgotten,” a statement from the city read.

Sappenfield had a decorated history with the fire department, being honored in 2014 by the city’s Chamber of Commerce for his heroic actions performed on a medical call. Prior to joining the department in 2008, he served in the U.S. Army and had a tour in Iraq with commendations.

“Our hearts go out to the men and women of the Independence Fire Department and everyone in our city,” the mayor said. “We have been through a lot in the last two years, but we want our public to know we are doing everything we can to support the fire department and our community as we deal wtih yet another tragic event.”

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