Reporting Kai Jackson
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — A volunteer firefighter dies a hero from injuries he suffered trying to save another man’s life.
Maryland now mourns the loss of Gene Kirchner, who was just 25.
Kai Jackson talks to friends who saw Kirchner’s dedication firsthand.
Co-workers tell WJZ Gene Kirchner was a dedicated professional and a good friend.
Light shines on his turnout gear. Black bunting is draped around the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company. Flags are flying at half-staff.
It is a day of mourning for family and co-workers of firefighter Gene Kirchner, who died Thursday after injuries he received during a fire.
“His efforts were nothing short of heroic. Our hearts go out to him and his family,” said John Hohman, Baltimore County Fire Chief.
The fire happened April 24 at a house on Hanover Road in Reisterstown. Firefighters were searching for 58-year-old Steven Starr. They found him, though he died in the fire.
Kirchner–whose twin brother is also a volunteer firefighter–was critically injured, collapsed and was rescued by fellow firefighters. He was taken to Shock Trauma and his family made the difficult decision to take him off life support.
“He loved to help people, and he died helping people, doing what he loved,” said friends.
Hearts are heavy at Butler Medical Transport in Owings Mills. Gene Kirchner worked there full-time in addition to being a volunteer firefighter.
A few years ago Butler Transport bought an ambulance from the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company. It’s the same one Gene Kirchner trained on to become an EMT.
That ambulance is now called “Team Gene.”
“Very outgoing and funny and loveable. Such a good person to be around,” said Amber Myrick, co-worker.
Kirchner’s funeral will be held on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills. He will be buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.
Baltimore County officials say that there was no sign of foul play in the fire, but the cause remains under investigation.
The Maryland flag will be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day Kirchner is buried.