An Adams County man serving as a captain with a Maryland fire company has died from injuries sustained in the line of duty.
Captain Joshua Laird, 46, of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, was a 21-year veteran of Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services, he tragically died in hospital after following through the floor of home during a fire, according to the fire company's Facebook page.
Laird's crew was called to a house fire in the 9500 block of Ball Road on Wednesday just before 5 p.m.
Upon arrival crews found a two-story single-family home with fire showing, so additional crews were called.
While operating inside the structure, Laird of Station 25 of the Green Valley Fire Department, made a mayday signal and suddenly fell through the first floor into the basement.
Multiple teams of firefighters worked to locate and rescue him.
He was treated at the scene and transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center via Maryland State Police aviation.
Laird died at the hospital the same evening.
"The void that he leaves behind will never be filled," FCDFRS Chief Tom Coe said.
U.S. and state flags in Maryland were lowered to half-staff to honor Cpt. Laird on Thursday until his burial, per an order by Gov. Larry Hogan.
"Maryland has lost another of our true heroes—Captain Joshua Laird, a 21-year veteran of the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services, lost his life in the line of duty yesterday while bravely responding to a fire in Ijamsville. On behalf of all Marylanders, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, his fellow firefighters, and to all those who loved him," Hogan said.
Laird is survived by his wife and two daughters, according to the fire department.
He was a supporter of youth sports and a member of his local school board, according to the school system's website.
The official cause of death has not been released at this time.
Detectives continue to investigate both the death and the cause of the fire.
A GoFundMe campaign page has been started to help support his family through this difficult time. As of Friday the page has approximately 750 donated who have raised over $58,000, over half of the $100,000 goal.
A meal train was also started to support the family and all the dates have already been filled.
The neighbor who reported the fire, Eileen Rice, believes the fire might have been caused by lightning as she saw it strike near the home minutes before she noticed smoke.
No people or pets were in the home at the time of the fire and no other injuries were reported.
The homeowner John Harden called the tragedy "extremely sad" and has expressed deep condolences to Laird's family and colleagues.
“We are in constant contact with the Laird family and our DFRS families and are doing everything we can to make every resource available,” Chief Coe said. “This unexpected loss of a father, a husband, and a brother to firefighters across the nation, will have a lasting impact on the Frederick and Fairfield communities. We are and will be here for them now and in the future.”
If you wish to donate to the family's GoFundMe you can do so here.
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