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Volunteer Firefighter Critically Injured In 3-Alarm Fatal Fire In Reisterstown

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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REISTERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — Family and friends continue to pray for a Reisterstown volunteer firefighter critically injured while battling a fire Wednesday morning.

Derek Valcourt has more on the firefighter and his condition.

At last check, he remains in critical condition after rushing into a burning building in an effort to save lives.

The call for help came early Wednesday morning inside a badly burning Reisterstown home.

Soon, firefighters discovered one of their own, 25-year-old Gene Kirchner, down and unresponsive. He was quickly rushed out of the house and brought to Shock Trauma, where family and friends remain at his bedside.

“We’re praying for a full recovery,” said Chief Craig Hewitt, Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Department.

Craig Hewitt is among many saddened at the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company, where Gene and his twin brother William had volunteered for more than nine years.

“We have felt like we have kind of raised Gene and his brother from young men into adults. We’ve watched them grow as firefighters,” Hewitt said.

The fire killed one of the occupants of the house, which was already heavily engulfed in flames when Kirchner and other firefighters rushed in.

“It speaks to his character and it’s a character we know. It’s one that always puts others in front of himself and is willing to risk his life to help others,” said Will Rosenberg, Butler Transport.

Will Rosenberg manages Butler Medical Transport, where Kirchner worked full-time as a dispatcher. Fellow employees hope their friend makes it out of the hospital alive.

“We’ve been getting various updates — some official, some unofficial — throughout the last 24 hours and everyone keeps clinging to those and hoping that every hour we get more positive news,” said Rosenberg.

WJZ reached out to Kirchner’s family. His mother told us she didn’t know how much her heart could hurt.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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