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Laramie County Fire District 2 firefighters, from left, John Kennedy, Devin Lantis and Cameron Berry find a weak spot in the roof before practicing cutting through it with a chainsaw under the watchful eye of program manager Josh Kourajian, right, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, on Yellowstone Road in north Cheyenne. Firefighters from both Cheyenne and Laramie County used a set of empty houses off Prairie Hills Drive, which are set to be torn down on Friday, to practice. Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – A Laramie County Fire District 2 firefighter was killed in an off-duty accident around 3:43 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 80 near mile marker 342 west of Cheyenne.

Firefighter John L. Kennedy, 22, of Cheyenne died at the scene due to injuries suffered during the crash. He was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident, according to a Wyoming Highway Patrol news release.

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John Kennedy. Laramie County Fire District 2/courtesy

Kennedy was driving a 2006 Kia SUV and was traveling westbound on I-80 when he merged from the left lane, across the right lane and into the merge lane. When the Kia entered the merge lane, it hit the back of a 2016 international commercial vehicle.

The driver of the 2016 commercial vehicle has been identified as Joseph Philip, 48, of Ontario, Canada. He, too, was wearing his seat belt, and was not injured in the crash.

Kennedy may have been using his cellphone and speeding at the time of the crash, and both are being investigated as possible contributing factors. He is the 134th person to die on Wyoming roadways in 2019.

LCFD2 released a statement Friday morning on Kennedy’s death. In it, officials said the fire district escorted Kennedy’s body to the Archer Complex with the help of the Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Laramie County Coroner’s Office.

Kennedy had been a resident firefighter with LCFD2 for the past year, and details on his funeral service will be released as soon as they become available.

“John, his family and his firefighting family are in our thoughts and prayers,” the statement said. “John is gone, but not forgotten. We appreciate all of the love and support we are getting from the community and our emergency responder partners.”

LCFD2 also thanked Laramie County Fire District 6, Cheyenne Fire Rescue, Wyoming Air National Guard Fire Department, Loveland Fire Rescue Authority, Platte Valley Fire Protection and the Wyoming Highway Patrol for the assistance and coverage with their calls during this difficult time.

Isabella Alves is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at ialves@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter @IsabellaAlves96.

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