Days after a DeKalb County firefighter disappeared while at a party with friends, his body was pulled from Lake Lanier in Hall County Thursday. Investigators are trying to determine how the 37-year-old Buford man ended up dead in the water.
Jason Blalock, who has been with the fire department for 11 years, was on vacation when he disappeared Saturday, according to the DeKalb County Fire Department. But Blalock wasn’t reported missing until Wednesday evening, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the report, Blalock was last seen Saturday in the area of Sunset Cove at Lake Lanier while attending a party with friends. At some point in the evening, his friends lost touch with Blalock, but no one reported him missing. It was when Blalock did not show up for work on his assigned shift that his supervisor realized something was wrong, the sheriff’s office spokesman Deputy Chad Mann said.
The supervisor said it was out of character for the firefighter to not report to duty. He filed a missing person report with the sheriff’s office Wednesday, Mann said.
Deputies responded to Sunset Cove where the firefighter was last seen and found Blalock’s vehicle still parked at the location, Mann said. Investigators interviewed witnesses and family members and searched the area for the missing fireman, the spokesman said.
After several hours, searchers located Blalock’s body with the help of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ side scan SONAR. The responders were able to confirm their was a body in the water with their deployed ROV underwater robot, Mann said.
DeKalb County fire chiefs as well as Blalock’s crew had also responded to the area, spokesman Capt. Eric Jackson said.
“Hall County (dive team) went into the water and pulled the body out at which time we knew that it was our firefighter,” Jackson said. “They are devastated as you can imagine. The whole department, not just his crew.”
The investigation into how Blalock ended up in the water and his cause of death are still ongoing.