COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Monday, the flags outside Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services Station 5 flew at half-staff in memory of longtime firefighter Stacey Boulware. The nineteen-year veteran died unexpectedly Monday.
"I couldn't believe it," Former Cobb County firefighter Michael Butler said.
Butler worked alongside Boulware for fifteen years.
"We were on the HAZMAT team together," Butler said. "There's a bond you form with these people. You're with them all the time. They become your family. She was like a little sister. She knew my wife and kids. I just can't believe it."
According to fire officials, Boulware successfully completed the annual physical agility test (PAT) before responding to two separate calls. When Boulware got back to station five, that's when authorities said she collapsed. Boulware was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
"By the time I got there, she was already gone," Butler said. "There were a bunch of people I knew there. Not a dry eye anywhere..."
Butler said what he and everyone else will miss most about Boulware was the passion she had for her job and the love she had for total strangers.
"She loved being a firefighter," Butler said. "She was cut out for the fire service. She was the kind of person where if she thought you were sad, she would do whatever she could to cheer you up, even if she didn't know you."