MEREDITH — Campton-Thornton Fire-Rescue Capt. David M. Lavoie, who died Nov. 9 from a medical emergency, was laid to rest in his hometown on Friday with full honors and one final call from Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid.
Born in Laconia and raised in Meredith, Lavoie, who would have turned 53 on Sunday, was the son of the late Charlotte and Theodore Lavoie.
On Nov. 9, some 12 hours after Lavoie and two fellow firefighters responded to a residential fire alarm call in Campton, Lavoie was helping a friend do tree work in Hebron when he suffered what Campton-Thornton Fire Chief Daniel Defosses said was a cardiac incident.
Because Lavoie died within 24 hours of responding to a call, his death remains under investigation by the New Hampshire Fire Marshal’s Office. Although an autopsy has been performed, the cause may not be known for several weeks, said Defosses.
Campton-Thornton Fire-Rescue is treating Lavoie’s death as a line-of-duty death, the chief said.
On Friday, a parade of emergency vehicles transported Lavoie’s remains from Mayhew Funeral Home on Route 3 and passed below a memorial arch made by the extended ladders of fire trucks from the Meredith and Waterville Valley fire departments.
An 11-year veteran of Campton-Thornton Fire-Rescue, Lavoie was carried in Engine 3, which he frequently drove for the department, including on the night of his final call on Nov. 8, when burned food had set off an alarm.
The fire engine, bedecked in black bunting, had Lavoie’s turnout coat on the bumper. It stopped outside Meredith Cemetery where dozens of his Campton-Thornton Fire-Rescue colleagues and fellow emergency responders stood at attention. Lavoie’s remains were solemnly carried inside where hundreds of people had gathered.
The Rev. Msgr. Gerald R. Belanger, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Meredith, began with the prayer that “may we who mourn be reunited one day with our brother.”
“May he (Lavoie) sleep here in peace,” Belanger continued, until his resurrection by Jesus Christ at His coming.
Following the “ringing of the three fives” — which is a traditional farewell to firefighters signifying that the alarm has ended — a message from Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid, which dispatches Campton-Thornton Fire-Rescue and 32 other fire departments in Central New Hampshire, came over the portable public address system used at the cemetery.
Several times the male dispatcher attempted to contact “35C4” — which was Lavoie’s call sign — and even toned him, before reading a statement from Campton-Thornton Fire-Rescue, that it was “with deep regret” that the department announced Lavoie’s death.
“Roll call has been taken and Capt. David Lavoie has failed to answer,” the dispatcher said, adding that Lavoie answered his last call on Nov. 9; that he had served his department and community well; and that “he will be deeply missed.”
Lavoie is survived by his son, Evan R. Bleakney, and his wife, Jennifer, of Meredith; grandchildren Hazel and Kolt Bleakney; his stepmother, Sherri (Sargent) Lavoie of Meredith; a brother, Paul R. Lavoie, and a sister, Valarie A. Greene, both of Meredith; two nephews, Owen and Milo Greene; and aunts, uncles and cousins.