|Agency||Springfield Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Age Range||46 to 50|
|Date of Birth||2/12/1956|
|Date of Death||1/14/2003|
|Cause of Death||Stress/Overexertion|
|Nature of Death||Heart attack|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations , Hose operations , SCBA operations|
On January 14, 2003, Captain Joseph Michael Rotherham of the Springfield Fire Department suffered a fatal heart attack in the line of duty.
During a 24-hour shift that started on January 13, Rotherham and Engine 6 responded to two alarms before responding to a residential fire on East Iles Avenue at 1:29AM on January 14. After searching the building for trapped occupants and discovering the flames in the attic, Rotherham and firefighters from Engine 6 stretched an attack line through the 1 ½ story house. While advancing the hose line towards the fire, Rotherham became disoriented and started to breathe heavily. He exited the structure to replenish the air supply for his self-contained breathing apparatus, but, after resting for a short time, he collapsed. Rotherham was treated by paramedics at the scene, and he was transported to St. John’s Hospital, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Funeral services for Rotherham were held at the Illinois State Armory on January 22, and he was survived by his widow and four children. The son of a firefighter and a veteran of the U.S. Army, Rotherham joined the Springfield Fire Department in 1989, became a driver engineer in 1999, and was promoted to captain in 2002.
Sarah Antonacci, “Firefighter dies after collapsing at fire,” State Journal-Register, January 15, 2003.
Sarah Antonacci, “Rotherham funeral planned,” State Journal-Register, January 16, 2003.
Obituary of Capt. Joseph M. Rotherham, State Journal-Register, January 16, 2003.