POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – With 27 years of public service to his name, Doug Clemons was the paramedic others turned to when they had questions or concerns about the job.
“Amazing guy, had a true compassion for what he did, had a compassion for his patients, for helping others. He was a mentor to most of the department and he was the lifeline if any of us had questions on a medical call,” said Lee Stringer, president of the Local 3531 union.
Stringer first met Clemons in 2001. By that time, Clemons, a Polk County Fire Rescue engineer/paramedic, was already several years into his career.
“He would make jokes. He would make sure to talk to every individual in the room and brighten their day up. He’d always been like that, ever since I met him,” said Stringer.
His colleagues are shocked about what happened this week.
Officials say nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary Tuesday at Fire Station 27 in Indian Lake Estates. Clemons was working there when he suffered a medical incident and died, according to Polk County Fire Rescue.
“So amazingly shocking – the last individual we would ever consider this happening to,” said Stringer.
An autopsy was completed Wednesday.
Polk County Fire Rescue and Polk County Sheriff’s Office personnel escorted Clemons’ body out of the Medical Examiner’s Office Wednesday afternoon.
Clemons, a beloved grandfather, was 56 years old.
“He showed us how to do the job and have the right temperament for it so he was a leader, been with us for a long time and he’ll be sorely missed,” said Polk County Fire Rescue Chief Robert Weech.
Chief Weech said Clemons was one of his leaders and he prioritized his health and fitness.
“Doug was a happy, healthy working out type of guy – taking care of himself, all those things were important to him. Certainly unexpected by all of us,” said Chief Weech.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation. His death does not appear to be suspicious, according to county officials.