Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford said that an Irmo firefighter died on the job while putting out a fire in a Columbia apartment.
Rutherford said that James Muller, a 25-year-old firefighter with the Irmo Fire District (IFD), was taken to Prisma Health Richland, where his injuries from the fire caused him to be declared dead.
The @RichlandSC Coroner has confirmed that one firefighter with @IrmoFire died as a result of the injuries he suffered in this fire. He was one of 7 total firefighters that went to area hospitals for injuries — 5 from @ColaFire & 2 from Irmo FD.
— Columbia-Richland Fire Department (@ColaFire) May 27, 2023
Authorities said that Muller died because he was stuck in his flat when it caved in during the fire.
IFD put something on their site that Muller is a Driver and Operator. In March, he just finished the Officer Academy.
Soda City Training, a group whose website says it works with fire, EMS, and other high-performance agencies to train them, wrote a Facebook post about Muller.
The post said, “It is with teary eyes and a heavy heart that we announce the Line of Duty Death of our brother, our friend, and one of our instructors, but most importantly, one of the most caring husbands, fathers, and firefighters.”
It went on to say, “He was one of the best,” and they asked for prayers for his family and everyone concerned. There were pictures of Muller in his fireman gear in the post.
Friday afternoon, crews from the Columbia-Richland Fire Department went to the Tropical Ridge Apartments on Stoneridge Drive to put out a fire.
Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said that the fire, which was finally called a 3-alarm fire, got so bad that the firefighters had to call it a “mayday.” That means that all of the firemen had to be pulled out of the building.
Jenkins said that at one point, there were 60 firemen at the scene. He said that at least seven firefighters were taken to the hospital and that several firemen were stuck inside the building.
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Jenkins said that two people were saved from the fire and taken to the hospital. He also said that 19 people had to move because of the fire.
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