The Richland County Coroner has confirmed that one Irmo Fire District firefighter died as a result of his injuries sustained in this fire. He was one of seven firefighters who were treated at area hospitals for injuries, including five from the CRFD and two from the Irmo FD.
James Muller, 25, a firefighter with the Irmo Fire District, was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead from his injuries in the fire. Muller had been trapped inside the apartment, which collapsed during the fire.
According to Chief Aubrey Jenkins, the fire, which was later classified as a 3-alarm fire, became so intense that firefighters had to call a mayday. That meant they had to evacuate all of their firefighters from the structure. According to Jenkins, there were 60 firefighters on the site at one time. Several firefighters were trapped inside the structure, which collapsed during the fire, he said, and at least seven were rushed to the hospital.
Crews from both agencies arrived on the scene shortly before 4:15 p.m. Because of the size and progress of the fire, officers on the site would request for a 2nd Alarm, which would result in the dispatch of more units.
The cause of the incident is currently being investigated in collaboration with the Columbia Police Department, SLED, and South Carolina State Fire.
The structure was severely damaged, and 19 people were displaced as a result of the fire.
Photo: Columbia Fire Department