BALTIMORE — The Baltimore City Fire Department is mourning the loss of an active 19-year agency veteran.
Firefighter Paramedic Lori Underwood died Sunday in a motorcycle collision while off-duty in Carroll County.
The 43-year-old mother and her boyfriend, Shawn Utz, who is a Battalion Chief in Howard County, were leaving a Celebration of Life event at around 4:37 p.m. when a car and their motorcycle collided on Main Street in Hampstead.
Lori later died at the hospital. Utz was flown to Shock Trauma by helicopter and is in serious condition.
“This is devastating and incredibly difficult for all of us,” Fire Chief Niles R. Ford said. “To say she will never be forgotten is an understatement."
The driver of the other vehicle was also taken to the hospital and later released.
City firefighter Kris Short, said Lori was his best friend, but more like a sister.
He called her the "backbone" of the department.
"It didn’t matter if you were the best firemen in the world or needed work, she was there. She helped you. She guided you. She counseled you. She was the person everyone dreamed of being," said Short.
Underwood served as treasurer of the local firefighter's union, where she fearlessly fought for the rights of its members.
“An all-round awesome person," said Rich Langford, president of Baltimore Firefighters Local 734. "She put our members best interest before everything, she was an advocate for our members.”
Langford said Lori was a close friend of 19 years.
“She’s going to be truly, truly missed by this membership," he said.
Fire department flags will be flown at half-staff, at all stations until sunset the day of the funeral.
Viewings for Lori will be held at Ruck Funeral Home at 5305 Harford Road in Baltimore on July 7 and 8 from 2 to 4pm and 6 to 8pm.
Memorial services will take place at 1pm on July 10 at the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun at 300 Joseph Biggs Memorial Highway.
A GoFundMe has been created to help the Underwood and Utz families.
The incident is currently under investigation by the Hampstead Police Department and the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.