A New Jersey EMS official who had served his community as a civil servant for more than three decades died of a heart attack after he responded to a car crash involving his daughter, officials said.
Captain Eskil “Scott” Danielson, 49, discovered his 19-year-old daughter was involved in a car crash along Route 206 as he and the rest of the Lakeland Rescue Squad responded to the scene about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“He had gotten up to go to that accident and within a few minutes, he had gotten a phone call from his daughter letting him know that she was in the accident,” his brother, Andover Township Police Chief Eric Danielson, told INSIDE EDITION.
After he helped treat his daughter, Alycia, and the other occupant of the other vehicle, Scott Danielson traveled to Newton Medical Center to check on her well-being, Eric Danielson said.
Scott Danielson suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed in the waiting room, his brother said. He was airlifted to Morristown Medical Center about 4:30 p.m. but could not be saved and was pronounced dead at 8:30 p.m., authorities said.
“They were hoping to do a medical procedure, but ultimately his heart wasn’t strong enough anymore,” Eric Danielson said.
Alycia Danielson was treated and released from the hospital that same day.
“I love you so much, daddy. I’ll take good care of mom, I promise. Please watch over us,” his daughter wrote on Facebook.
Scott Danielson leaves behind his wife, Tammy; his son, Aaron, 28, who is with the U.S. Air Force; and his 21-year-old daughter, Amanda. He is also survived by his father, Eskil “Skip” Danielson, retired from the Byram Township Police Department, where he served as police chief for 22 years, his mother Judy Danielson, and brother Kevin Danielson, who serves as a firefighter in Clifton.
His brother told IE that Scott Danielson had always been driven to civil service, first going to work at age 14 as a “cadet” for the Lakeland Rescue Squad. He would one day become the squad chief.
“It was early on in his life that he began developing an interest in public safety. He lived his life around serving the community, serving people,” Eric Danielson said.
He became an emergency services dispatcher in 1984 and went on to hold many other roles in community service, finally joining Warren County Communications, a county-wide 911 center, in the early 1990s. He served as the supervising telecommunicator and training officer.
“In Warren County, he found his niche and was able to rise through the ranks there and be able to create a center out there that’s advanced,” Eric Danielson said.
Scott Danielson also served on the Warren County Haz-Mat Response Team, served as emergency management coordinator for Byram Township in Sussex County, served as deputy fire warden in the New Jersey State Forest Fire Service and received formal training as a tactical dispatcher for field communications and SWAT team response, officials said. He was also currently serving his third, three-year term on the Andover Borough Council.
His work with the Lakeland Rescue Squad was voluntary.
“He was a good-hearted person and he would do anything for anybody,” Eric Danielson said. “He didn’t have much, but whatever he could give, he would give. His heart was the biggest thing; as a volunteer, he poured his passion into the Lakeland Rescue Squad.”
Scott Danielson’s work helped secure federal grants to buy more than $100,000 in new fire equipment and funding for two new ambulances for the Lakeland Rescue Squad, officials said.
“Scott was an expert in the field of police/fire/EMS grantsmanship having successfully acquired several million dollars in funding for communications equipment and fire and EMS vehicles in Sussex and Warren Counties. When asked to help, he couldn’t say no,” his obituary said.
During his free time, Scott Danielson followed the New York Yankees, the Miami Dolphins and the New Jersey Devils, his brother sad. He loved attending NASCAR events and was an avid fan of driver Jimmy Johnson, Eric Danielson said.
“He followed his children as they carried on the family sport - competitive bowling,” his obituary said.
“He traveled a lot with his wife, he and his wife loved Disney World,” Eric Danielson said, saying that the family enjoyed taking annual trips to the theme park in Florida.
His passing struck a blow to the many communities Danielson served, as countless organizations and individuals took to social media to express their grief and pay tribute.
“The impact that Scott Danielson has had on emergency services in this area is immeasurable. But maybe, just maybe, when he shows up as trending on Facebook we can begin to grasp just how truly lucky we all were to work with a man who made such a difference,” the Lakeland Emergency Squad wrote on Facebook on Monday.
The Washington Township Police Department also expressed its condolences, writing on Facebook: “Captain Danielson was an invaluable asset to this department and many other public safety agencies in Warren County. Scott always put the public's safety first and foremost in his work and he was a true professional. He will be missed by many.”
Calling hours will be Wednesday, January 20 from 2–4 p.m. and from 6-9 p.m., at the Cochran Funeral Home in Hackettstown.
A funeral service will be held the following day at 10 a.m. at the funeral home. The burial will be at Locust Hill Cemetery in Dover following the service.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Lakeland Emergency Squad.