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Slain Yukon firefighter hurt in '09 antique store fire

Devin Nemecek, 47, of Yukon inhaled toxic air at an antique store fire in February 2009, his former fire chief said. Nemecek was shot to death Tuesday after barging into a Piedmont police officer's Yukon home.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: April 22, 2011
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— Devin Nemecek, the retired firefighter shot to death Tuesday after barging into a Piedmont police officer's Yukon home, was a dedicated, safety-oriented crew member who was a first responder at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing exactly 16 years before his death, his former chief said.

Nemecek needed oxygen treatments as a result of injuries suffered at an antique store fire on Main Street on Feb. 1, 2009, former Yukon Fire Chief Jeff Lara said.

He said Nemecek was exposed to toxic air when his breathing apparatus malfunctioned.

Nemecek, 47, could have been hallucinating or confused because of low oxygen levels when he approached the residence of officer Jack Neumann, 37, about 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nemecek's family has said. Nemecek lived a few houses away from Neumann, but they did not know each other.

Yukon police said Nemecek attacked Neumann with a metal yard sign before Neumann, who was returning home from work, shot him.

Nemecek was already a Yukon firefighter when Lara joined as an assistant chief on April 3, 1995, Lara said.

Both were among the first to arrive 16 days later in downtown Oklahoma City to deal with the aftermath of the bombing.

Lara remembered Nemecek as an aggressive and skilled firefighter.

“He was protective of his crew and himself,” said Lara, who promoted Nemecek to his final rank of captain.

“You have to have an inherent trait I refer to as situational awareness, where you have to focus not only on what you're doing, but you have to be aware of what's going on around you. He had that. He knew when to push forward and when to back away.”

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