A Houston firefighter who died in a cycling accident is being remembered as a devoted family man and respected leader.
W. Mark Braswell, 43, died Friday after he collided with a landscape trailer that had been parked at in the 18800 block of North Thomas Shore. While the crash remains under investigation, the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable's Office said preliminary information indicates the trailer was parked legally and Braswell's death was the result of an accidental injury.
Braswell served as a captain at Houston Fire Department Station 6 in the Heights area. He also worked as an assistant chief for the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department.
“Everybody always says you always lose the good ones, and it's truly one of those times where you've lost somebody that made a difference -- a positive difference,” said Houston Fire Department District Chief Wallace Page.
Page called Braswell a respected leader in the department.
“It's been a pleasure to work with him because I never had to worry about things getting done properly and never had to worry about him doing his job the best of his ability,” said Page.
Page said Braswell was one of the first firefighters to respond to a massive five alarm apartment fire in the Montrose area last March, rushing down from the fifth floor moments before part of the building collapsed. Though firefighters put their lives on the line everyday, Page said the accident has left fellow firefighters struggling to comprehend a different set of circumstances.
“It wasn't his job. He was out doing what he loved to do, participating in athletic events. It just seems senseless to us that it happened this way. That's what's really hard for us to fathom,” said Page.
Braswell is survived by a wife and two children. His wife is the acting assistant chief for the Missouri City Fire Department.
A spokesperson for the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department said the three departments will now join together to support Braswell's family and coordinate plans for memorial services.