Society

SC Firefighter Killed In Fire Engine Accident

| by Sheena Vasani
Christopher Gene Ray Accident SceneChristopher Gene Ray Accident Scene

A firefighter died March 20 while responding to a house fire in Conway, South Carolina, after a fire truck reversed over him.

The fire truck struck Christopher Gene Ray after he fell off an engine, crushing him to death, reports the Daily Mail.

Ray was a husband and a father to two daughters.

“The City of Conway extends its deepest sympathy to Firefighter Ray’s wife Brandi, his two daughters Cheyenne and Regan, and his entire family,” Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick said.

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While he is not the first firefighter to die on duty, statistics show fatality rates for firefighters due to job-related causes are decreasing.

“In 2014, a total of 64 firefighters died while on duty in the U.S., a significant decrease from the 97 deaths that occurred in 2013, when three incidents alone claimed a total of 32 lives,” said the National Fire Protection Association.

“Deaths in road vehicle crashes, often the second most frequent cause of on-duty firefighter fatalities, continued low in 2014. With seven fatalities, this is the second lowest number of crash deaths over the past 30 years,” it added.

Some firefighters have captured attention for dying of other causes unrelated to the job, like suicide.

California chief firefighter Rigo Landeros, 51, shot himself in the head while on duty in January, FireHouse reports.

A few days before, Landeros had been questioned about possible inappropriate use of funds for his nonprofit organization, the Fillmore Firefighters Foundation.

“We had talked Wednesday [Jan. 6] and we talked again that Thursday morning [Jan. 7] and I knew that he was upset about the activity at the goal-setting session," Former Fillmore Councilman Steve Conaway  said. "The challenges to his integrity just tore him up. But the part I will never have an answer to is how he came to the conclusion that [taking his own life] was his only option," he said. "It's a tragic event, and I'm just sick about the whole thing."

The fire crew can't be sure if the investigation played a role in his death.

"But at the same time, if you talk with any mental health professional on the topic of suicide, it's not any one issue that causes someone to go down that road," current Fillmore Councilman Manuel Minjares, who also questioned the man, added.

Sources: Daily Mail, NFPA,  FireHouse / Photo credit: Daily Mail

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