By Max McGee

IJAMSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — “Tell my family I love them.”

Those were Fire Capt. Joshua Laird’s last words before he died of injuries suffered in a devastating house fire in Frederick County on Wednesday. He served his community for 21 years.

READ MORE: Frederick County Fire Department Announces Ways To Help Family Of Fallen Firefighter Joshua Laird

The burning 5,300-square foot home still carries the heartbreak from that fateful afternoon.

Fire Captain Chris Dimopoulos said the risk firefighters face is a fact of life.

“When you have little kids at home, you realize you may very well be the one not going home to them the next morning,” he said, with tears streaming down his face.

Home is where Laird left behind wife Sara and two children.

“You want to go back to your firetruck at the end of a call,” Dimopolous said. “It’s hard to wrap your head around it.”

READ MORE: Gov. Hogan Lowers Flags To Half Staff To Honor Captain Joshua Laird, Firefighter Killed On Duty

Maryland is in a state of mourning. U.S and state flags are at half-staff with Gov. Larry Hogan extending condolences on behalf of the state to his family and fellow firefighters. County Executive Jan Gardner called Josh a hero.

Ijamsville resident Corinne Gadson said she saw Laird just the day before.

“I heard about a fireman who was injured,” she said. “The next morning when I woke up, I saw his picture in many articles and I cried! I said that is the same man who was so nice to us in the gas station.”

The father, husband and mentor leaves behind a legacy but there is one more gift as we say goodbye to the man who gave so much. Dimopoulos said Laird will continue to be an inspiration

“They say it all the time how we’re a family and a brotherhood. Josh was unique and maybe I can fill that void,” he said. “He’s lectured me enough. Maybe I can be that voice of reason and be a bit more levelheaded.”

MORE NEWS: Frederick County Fire Captain Josh Laird Dies From Injuries Sustained While Battling Housefire

A GofundMe page for Josh has raised nearly $70,000.