Fallen fireman remembered in Kanawha County

MALDEN, W.Va. — Members of the Whitesville Volunteer Fire Department sat in the shade of the Malden Firehouse Friday morning. They came from Boone County to keep vigil on the station’s calls as members of the Malden Volunteer Fire Department paid their final respects to a fallen member.

A black ribbon was carefully strung across the bay doors of the firehouse and the flag in the small yard hung at half-staff in memory of Johnny Appleton.

Appleton, 62, was a seven-year veteran member of the local fire squad. He collapsed Monday and died of a heart attack while helping fight fire. His death came during a call in which Malden was offering aid to the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department.

Appleton, who also had served as the department’s chaplain, was pastor of Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church in Malden.

A private viewing was held at a small funeral home in Malden before Appleton was carried in a flag-draped casket to Riverside High School in Quincy for his public funeral. More than 40 firefighting trucks and vehicles formed a procession that passed under two crossed ladders holding an American flag to the school.

Following his funeral, the Malden engine carried him back to the fire house where a final whistle was blown in his honor before his body was released for cremation.

Friends and fellow firemen described him as reliable member of the department, one who could be counted on for nearly every call regardless of the time of day or night.

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