MAYS LANDING, N.J. (AP) — Officials say a volunteer New Jersey firefighter on her way to answer a call on Christmas morning died in a single-car crash.

Police in Hamilton Township say Natalie Dempsey, 21, of Mays Landing, lost control of her car shortly before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and struck a guardrail. Police say she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chief Jay Davenport of the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Department said Dempsey was on her way to a call. He said the department is like “a close-knit family” and added: “This one has hit us hard.”

Davenport said Dempsey had been a volunteer firefighter for three years, hoped to become a police officer, and attended the police academy over the summer. He said she was “a beautiful person … a light in the sky.”