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Firefighters gather at Malden VFD to remember Chaplain John T. Appleton

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It started with a fully involved house fire on Happy Hollow Road in Sissonville.

"While conducting exterior operations, firefighter and chaplain, John T. Appleton, from the Malden Volunteer Fire Department, collapsed," said a fellow firefighter from the Malden VFD.

Appleton, a well respected pastor at a church in Malden, a father, a friend to many, passed away at the hospital.

The amount of people who gathered Monday evening at the Malden Volunteer Fire Department to show support was the perfect example of the special bond that first responders share.

Chief John Taylor of the South Charleston Fire Department was there at the department.  "We have our families at home and then we have our families at the fire station," he said.  

"You can't imagine what it feels like," said Retired Captain of the Charleston Fire Department, Matthew Jackson.  

Jackson was referring to the feeling firefighters get after saving a life.  "We pray before we start a rescue mission.  We pray that we will save a life.  Of course, unfortunately, sometimes we will lose a life, or lives.  In most cases we save them.  We're dedicated to do that."

Whether it's considered a calling or a career, this is what these men and women were born to do.  

When it comes to moving forward, these men and women said it's about leaning on each other for support.

"It's what we do," said Chief Taylor, "and it's kind of hard to explain.  Teamwork, above all is most important.  It's a brotherhood."

Funeral arrangements are being planned by Appleton's family.

The family that lived in the home in Sissonville was not home at the time of the fire.

The cause of Appleton's death is not being released at this time.

Stay with 13 News for more on this developing story.