South Carolina firefighter dies after partial collapse at burning apartment building
A 25-year-old firefighter from South Carolina has died after part of a burning apartment building collapsed while firefighters were inside.
Authorities said James Muller of the Irmo Fire District died Friday while he was providing aid during the response to a fire at Tropical Ridge apartments in Columbia. WLTX-TV reports that Muller, of Columbia, was one of seven firefighters who were taken to the hospital after the collapse.
Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said five firefighters from Columbia and two from Irmo had to be taken to the hospital.
Two residents were also taken to the hospital, Jenkins said. In total, about 19 people were displaced from the damaged apartments. The American Red Cross is working with residents on lodging and other immediate needs.
Chief Mike Sonefeld of the Irmo Fire District said Muller worked for the district for seven years and had a "love and passion for the job."
"Firefighter Muller will be greatly missed amongst his firefighting family," Sonefeld said on Twitter.
The fire is being investigated by the Columbia Police Department, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the Richland County Fire Marshal's Office and other agencies.