USA — Officials this afternoon have revealed the identity of the Columbia firefighter who died Saturday after being struck by a car while responding to a brush fire on I-20.
The firefighter named was Chance Hyatt Zobel, 23, a three-year veteran of the fire department with Engine Co. No. 4 stationed at Spears Creek Church Road.
Zobel first worked with the department managing fire hydrants. He graduated from the fire academy in February. It was his dream to become a firefighter, said Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins at a news conference this afternoon.
Arrangements for the funeral are being planned.
This is the third death since 1986 for the city and county department.
A second firefighter who was injured, Larry Kewon Irvin, still is in critical but stable condition at Palmetto Richland hospital.
A Columbia firefighter who was struck by a car while responding to a blaze Saturday has died, Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the fire department was not releasing the deceased man’s name Saturday night out of respect for the family, but he said the man was a young firefighter who had been with the department no more than five years. He termed the man’s death “a tragic loss of one of our own.”
A second firefighter injured in the accident was in critical but stable condition at a local hospital, Jenkins said Saturday night.
“We are just asking for prayer for the families and for the Columbia-Richland Fire Department,” Jenkins said. “You’ve got a lot of sad firefighters right now.”
Columbia police and fire officials said a vehicle struck the two men as they were battling a brush fire in the median of I-20 a about 2:15 p.m.. The crash reportedly backed up traffic on the interstate early in the afternoon. The vehicle was traveling westbound and struck the men directly, Jenkins said. Three fire department trucks were on the scene, as were other firefighters, when the wreck occurred.
The S.C. Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Patrol officials were not available Saturday night.