The Sunrise Fire-Rescue Department says one of the South Floridians who died in Thursday's small plane crash in Virginia was a retired captain of the department.
Officials said it was confirmed Friday that retired Captain Theodore "Ted" Bradshaw, 61, was among those onboard the small aircraft that crashed in Virginia. Official reports confirmed that there were no survivors.
The department said Bradshaw was piloting the cessna en-route to Virginia when reports came in Thursday that the plane did not reach its destination.
Those also onboard the plane were his wife, 48-year-old Mary Anne Bradshaw of Fort Lauderdale, and their relatives of Palm Beach, 64-year-old Charles Rodd and 58-year-old Diane Rodd, according to Lt. Curtis Hardison of Virginia State Police.
It took a day for searching to find the wreckage, but there were no survivors.
"This news comes as a great shock and as a tremendous loss to the Sunrise Fire-Rescue Department," the department said in a news release Saturday.
Bradshaw was one of the original 10 paid firefighters as the city transitioned from the Sunrise Golf Village to the City of Sunrise in 1972
"They were great neighbors, friends and people," said Cindy Haney, who lives next door to the Bradshaws. "It's a tragedy to the family and to friends."
Haney and her husband, who is also a firefighter, last spoke with the Bradshaws on Wednesday, the night before they flew out of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport heading to Chesapeake, Va., when the plane went missing.
"They were going up to Virginia to Mary Ann's nephew's wedding, and that her sister and brother-in-law were going with them, and we talked about flying," said Haney. "Ted's been a pilot for many, many years, and they were looking forward to the weekend."
All day Saturday, family members gathered at the Bradshaw's Cooper City home, and while none of them were ready to talk publicly about the tragedy, the images of flags flying at half-staff spoke volumes outside the Sunrise fire station.
The department said Bradshaw was known for his spirited personality, intense mentorship and his dedication to serve the community he called home for more than 40 years. They added that he was instrumental in bringing new technology to the fire service long before it became accepted industry wide including the use of the first closed cab fire engines to ensure firefighter safety.
"Our Department has suffered a great loss today as we remember both Ted and his wife, Mary Ann," said Fire Chief Thomas DiBernardo. "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy."
Bradshaw was a 33-year veteran of the department, retiring in 2005 after rising to the rank and serving as an assistant fire chief. The department said he was an active union member of the International Association of Fire Firefighters and Metro-Broward Local 3080.
Since his retirement, the department said Bradshaw often returned back to his fire department family and participated in all retirement activities and events.
But for one firefighter's family member, words couldn't express what the Bradshaws brought to her life and many others.
"Very loving and giving. They'd do anything for anyone," said Haney. "Very good friends. I don't know, I can't believe it."
At this time, the department said no information has been released on services.