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Thread: South Dakota Firefighter Dies During Rescue Attempt

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    South Dakota Firefighter Dies During Rescue Attempt

    South Dakota Firefighter Dies During Rescue Attempt


    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.com News


    South Dakota lost a second firefighter in line of duty this year when a member of the Martin Volunteer Fire Department died of asphyxiation during a rescue attempt on September 10.

    Assistant Chief Roger McMillin, 44, had been with the department for 17 years and had volunteered with the local EMS agency for the last 10 years.

    Fire Chief Doug O'Bryan said the department received a call to respond to Mueller's Feed Mill, where a worker had climbed into a nearly empty 4,000-gallon molasses vat to clean it, and had passed out.

    McMillin also worked at the feed mill and was one of the first rescuers on scene. He climbed into the vat but was also overcome by toxic fumes, later determined to be hydrogen sulfide. Rescuers were unable to revive the two men and they were pronounced dead at Bennett County Community Hospital.

    O'Bryan said the feed mill had been cleaning the vat this way at least twice a year for the past 40 years, and it wasn't clear what went wrong this time.

    "Apparently something different happened this year," he said. The Rapid City Fire Department's hazmat team and the Occupational Safety and Health Organization were investigating, he said.

    The chief said McMillin was a past chief of the department, and was always one of the first to respond to a call.

    "He was so involved. Everybody knew him and knew him well. It was a tough deal," he said.

    O'Bryan said the firefighter also started the department's junior firefighting program about five years ago and has been the leader ever since. Both his sons joined the program, until his oldest son Nathan, who recently turned 18, became a full firefighter. He responded to the incident where his father died.

    McMillin is survived by his wife Cindy, sons Nathan and Monty, and daughters Monica and Grace. In addition to his activities with the fire and EMS services, he was an avid hunter and fisherman, the chief said.

    O'Bryan said this is the first time the department has lost a firefighter in the line of duty since the early 1960s, when a firefighter died during a wildland firefighting incident. He said the Rapid City Fire Department sent their critical incident management team to help them through the experience.

    The Martin Volunteer Fire Department has 32 members and serves a population of 3,500 in a rural area of 1,600 square miles.

    Services were held on September 14 at Old Legion Auditorium, with burial at Martin Community Cemetery.

    A memorial has been established for the family of Assistant Chief Roger McMillin, Care of the Martin Volunteer Fire Department, P. O. Box 841, Martin, SD 57551.



    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2002/sd_sep24.html

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    McMillin, Roger

    Age: 44
    Rank: Assistant Chief
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 09/10/2002
    Incident Time: 08:35
    Death Date: 09/10/2002

    Cause of Death: Exposure
    Nature of Death: Asphyxiation (includes drowning)
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Non-Fire Emergencies
    Activity Type: Search and Rescue
    Fixed Prop. Use: Industry

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Martin Volunteer Fire Department
    P. O. Box 841
    Martin, South Dakota 57551
    Chief: Doug O'Bryan

    Initial Summary:
    Assistant Chief McMillin was overcome by toxic fumes (later found to be hydrogen sulfide) while trying to rescue a worker at a feed mill who had fallen face down into a soybean molasses vat. Rescuers were unable to revive McMillin. He was transported to the hospital where both he and the worker he was attempting to save were pronounced dead. Memorial Fund: For the family of Assistant Chief Roger McMillin, Care of the Martin Volunteer Fire Department, P. O. Box 841, Martin, SD 57551


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1345

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