Davidson County firefighter dies after responding to wreck

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CHURCHLAND, N.C. -- Longtime Davidson County firefighter Chris Phillips is being remembered for his service and laughter. Phillips, who started as a volunteer firefighter at the age of 16, died Wednesday night at his home after returning from a call. The cause of death has not been determined. He was 41.

"As far back as I can remember all he wanted to be was a firefighter," said Assistant Chief Ryan Swink, who grew up with Phillips in the department. "When you put your life in someone’s hands … the bond is tight."

Friends say firefighting came second in his life, with his wife and 4-year-old daughter his top priority and greatest joy.

Friends say through Phillips' career he has worked as a paid firefighter in Lexington and most recently the Locke Fire Department in Rowan County but was always a volunteer in his home community of Churchland.

"Everybody knows him by name," said Swink. "He makes everybody smile and laugh."

Funeral arrangements are still pending.

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