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Bedford fire lieutenant recalled by comrades as 'salt of the earth'

BEDFORD - The Fire Department is mourning the sudden death of longtime Lieutenant James Clark.

Clark, 56, of Goffstown, was a 26-year veteran of the department, said Captain Kevin Murray.

"I've worked my whole career alongside Jim," Murray said. "He was one of the good guys."

According to Goffstown Fire Lt. William Connor, first responders responded to a call from Clark's address at around 7 p.m. Thursday evening, for an unconscious male who was not breathing.

Murray said the cause of death had not yet been determined. An autopsy was being conducted in Concord Friday afternoon.

An avid runner, it was not unusual for Clark to run to work from his home in Goffstown, Murray said.

"He had figured out a way to run to work through the woods," he said. "For a 56-year-old, he was incredibly fit."

According to Murray, Clark loved being a firefighter and didn't back down from any challenge.

"When he was at work, he was ready to go, all the time," he said. Murray described Clark as an aggressive firefighter and praised his management style and problem-solving ability.

"He got to the bottom of issues in a calm and reassuring manner," Murray said. "He was a no-drama kind of guy, but when he had to, he knew when to step it up a notch."

Clark leaves a wife and two daughters, as well as a group of colleagues who are still reeling from the news of his sudden passing.

"This was very unexpected, and a shock to us all," Murray said.

In a statement issued by the Bedford Fire Department, Chief Scott Wiggin said Clark will be remembered for his dedication to both the department and his family.

"The Bedford Fire Department members mourn the loss of their fallen brother and will be diligent in support of his family's wishes," he said.

Murray echoed that sentiment.

"Our focus as a department will be getting through this together, but more importantly, to help his family, that's what we do. That's our job right now," he said.

Murray said Clark was someone fellow firefighters could count on when the going got tough, and that he will be missed. "He was, like they say, the salt of the earth," he said. "It's a sad day for Bedford Fire."

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