Burke County Bridge Dedicated to Firefighter

MORGANTON – A Burke County bridge now bears the name of a local firefighter killed while clearing storm debris in October 2017.

Triple Community volunteer firefighter Jason Keith Hensley was working to clear a tree that had been blown down across U.S. 70 when he was hit by a vehicle driven by an impaired driver. The 40-year-old married father of two sons died on the scene. The driver of the vehicle later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to prison.

Earlier today, Hensley’s family and officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation, Burke County and the Triple Community Fire Department named the bridge on Drexel Road over Interstate 40 for Hensley.

“I believe I can speak on behalf of the family, and the members that served with Jason, that there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think about him,” said Triple Community Fire Chief Joshua Smith said. “He was the definition of a true volunteer firefighter and family man. May Jason’s legacy inspire all of us to continue to work with dedication and compassion.”

Hensley had only joined the fire department in March 2017 but had already logged over 200 hours of training and had become a fixture on calls for help.

“He was a man dedicated to his family and community with no questions asked,” Smith said.

Smith gave remarks Thursday along with the department’s Assistant Fire Chief Michael Carswell, two of Hensley’s friends, and Burke County Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Director Michael Willis. Billy Clarke, who represents the state Board of Transportation for the Burke County area, served as the event’s emcee.

In December, the N.C. Board of Transportation passed a resolution to dedicate the bridge for Hensley. Willis got to know Hensley during a training Willis led shortly after Hensley had joined the fire service. He learned of Hensley’s devotion to his wife and his work as a firefighter, and said Hensley was a ‘hero,’ deserving of such an honor.

“Jason Hensley is the epitome of a firefighter, public servant, volunteer, family man, humble, love, friend,” Willis said. “We have a saying ‘Never Forget.’ Today is another step in our mission to never forget Jason Hensley.”




State and Burke County officials joined family of fallen firefighter Jason Hensley on Thursday to dedicate a bridge in Hensley’s honor. ​