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Quarryville firefighter among 5 killed in Franklin County accident

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The Quarryville Fire Company in Lancaster County is mourning the death of a longtime member.

Douglas Hoffer, Jr., 32, and his girlfriend, Colleen Nesbitt, 27, of Gap, were killed when their motorcycle collided head-on with an SUV  that crossed the center line.

The SUV then collided with another motorcycle carrying David Russell, 67, and his wife, Michelle Russell, 53. The Mount Joy couple was also killed, along with a passenger in the SUV, Marjorie Smith, 68, of Johnstown.

The accident happened just before 2 p.m. Saturday near the Maryland line in Washington Township, Franklin County.

Now, the Quarryville Fire Station on East State Street is draped in black bunting in Hoffer’s memory.

Hoffer was a member of the Quarryville Fire Company for more than 12 years. During that time, he served on a committee to help the company get a new rescue truck, which firefighters also draped in black bunting.

“Doug joined as a firefighter and he progressed to the rank of lieutenant,” said Fire Chief Jamie Welk. “But his main passion here was driving, he wanted to be a driver.”

For a fire company that’s more like a family, coping with the loss has been tough.

“There’s a lot of guys who are close with Doug, who grew up with Doug,” Welk said. “Went to Solanco High School, lived just up the street. Just a happy guy to be around.”

In addition to his fire department family, Hoffer is survived by his parents, a daughter and a son. Welk says Hoffer was a great firefighter, and an even better dad.

“Doug was a very devoted and active father,” he said. “From school activities to Cub scouts, Doug was the guy. He was there.”

The fire company is in the process of planning a memorial for a later date. Meanwhile, police in Franklin County are still investigating the cause of the crash. The driver of the SUV, Gordon Smith, 67, of Johnstown, was the only survivor of the accident.