|Agency||Fairbury Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Volunteer|
|Age Range||21 to 25|
|Date of Birth||1/22/1984|
|Date of Death||7/22/2008|
|Cause of Death||Caught/Trapped , Contact/Exposure|
|Nature of Death||Asphyxiation , Burns|
|Attribute of Death||Smoke inhalation|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations , Ventilation operations|
On July 22, 2008, Firefighter Brian J. Munz of the Fairbury Fire Department died in the line of duty while fighting a residential fire in Forrest, Illinois.
The Fairbury Fire Department was one of seven mutual aid departments that responded to the fire, which was confined to the basement of a two-story house. As firefighters entered the basement with an attack line, Munz and three other Fairbury firefighters contributed to ventilation operations by opening first floor windows. As they worked, the Fairbury firefighters recognized that the floor was weakening and becoming spongy, but as they were exiting the structure, the floor collapsed and Munz fell into the basement.
The collapse sent fire and heavy smoke throughout the house, and firefighters could not immediately begin search and rescue operations. Water streams were aimed into the basement, and firefighters were soon able to place a ground ladder through the collapsed floor to descend into the basement. Munz was found pinned under a large sofa in the basement, and he was extricated and transported to OSF Saint James- John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, Illinois, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Funeral services for Munz were held at First United Methodist Church in Fairbury on July 26, and he was interred at Graceland Cemetery. More than three hundred firefighters from Illinois and Iowa attended the funeral, and more than seventy fire apparatus participated in the funeral procession.
A six-year member of the Fairbury Fire Department, Munz, at the start of his service, had successfully convinced the fire chief to lower the department’s age requirement for members from twenty-one down to eighteen.