U.S. News


Firefighter dies battling South Carolina apartment fire

The fatal injury happened when the apartment collapsed during fire suppression efforts, officials said.
Firefighters battle a large apartment fire in South Carolina Friday.
Posted at 2:10 PM, May 27, 2023

A firefighter died and five others required medical treatment after battling an apartment fire in Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday, Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins announced. Firefighters from the Columbia Fire Department and Irmo Fire Division were among those injured.

James Muller, the deceased firefighter, was a member of the Irmo Fire Division. He was part of the fire department for seven years. 

"He was a highly respected firefighter that had a love and passion for the job," the Irmo Fire District said. "Firefighter Muller will be greatly missed amongst his firefighting family. Chief Sonefeld and the Fire District appreciate the outpouring of your thoughts and prayers during this tragic and difficult time.’"

Officials said Mueller sustained fatal injuries when the apartment collapsed during fire suppression efforts. 

The apartment had heavy damage, leaving 19 people without a home. 

The Irmo Fire Division said its personnel are not on duty this weekend while they grieve Muller’s death. Crews from other South Carolina fire departments are filling the void. 

Three of the five injured firefighters were released by late Friday. 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Muller is the 29th firefighter in the U.S. to die while on duty in 2023. There were 96 reported in all of 2022.