The driver of a truck that was pulled out of a West Esplanade Avenue drainage canal Friday morning in Metairie was a 10-year veteran of the Jefferson Parish Fire Department who had been missing for days.
David Yeomans, 33, of Metairie, was found dead inside the 2005 Toyota Tacoma by divers with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Fire Department Director Joseph Greco said Yeomans had worked as a firefighter in the parish for a decade.
“Everyone was looking for him for several days, and no one could make contact with him,” Greco said.
Frank Cusimano, secretary-treasurer for the firefighters union, said Yeomans was last on the job Sunday morning.
He was reported missing to the Sheriff’s Office about 2 a.m. Thursday.
Yeomans’ colleagues had scoured Metairie for signs of their friend in the days after he disappeared, said union official Bob Burkett.
“The parish’s canals are certainly always suspect when somebody goes missing,” said Burkett, president of Jefferson Parish Firefighters Association Local Union 1374.
He described the discovery of Yeomans’ body as “a horrible day for us. Really, it’s stunning.”
Yeomans, who served as a driver at Station 15, joined the department in a rookie class just before Hurricane Katrina, Greco said.
“He probably saw more action as a rookie than some veteran firefighters,” he said. “He rescued people, he fought fires, whatever it took.”
In addition to his work on the job, Yeomans was active in the firefighters union. He served as an elected trustee and lobbied legislators on fire safety laws, Burkett said.
Cusimano described Yeomans as a “great guy.”
“It was just an unfortunate situation and tragic loss of life of a young firefighter,” he said.
Deputies were dispatched at 7:28 a.m. Friday after getting a call about a truck half-submerged in the canal near Hessmer Avenue.
The JPSO said it is investigating the incident as a traffic fatality. There are no reports from witnesses, so investigators do not know when the truck ran into the canal.
Chad Calder contributed to this story.