Hazel Eugene Erwin Cause Of Death, Obituary Not Yet Available – According to the Charlotte Fire Department, Charlotte’s first Black firefighter died last month at the age of 77 following a battle with cancer.
According to fox46.com, Hazel Eugene Erwin served in the United States Airforce as a firefighter before joining the Charlotte Fire Department. He fought fires at Goldsboro’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and later in South Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay, where he spent a year. According to the Charlotte Fire Department, he was honorably discharged on Christmas Day in 1966.
On October 18, 1967, Erwin was employed by the Charlotte Fire Department and assigned to Fire Station 1. Erwin was the driving force towards the integration of the Charlotte Fire Department in the 1960s, and he made history as Charlotte’s first Black firefighter.
“We’re not going to abandon this man in the wilderness.” In 1967, Charlotte Fire Chief Jim Black stated, “He will be stationed on an engine company at Fire Station 1 and will have an equal chance in our department.” On March 20, 1974, Erwin resigned from Charlotte Fire.
According to the fire department, he was a man of integrity, a diligent worker, and known for spending time with his family and friends. According to Erwin’s relatives, he never desired special credit for breaking the color barrier.
“He just wanted to do the right thing,” they explained.
“He was gone, but he was never forgotten.” “With the Charlotte Fire Department, he will forever be our Black history,” the department declared.