Fellow firefighters remember Iaeger firefighter who died in line of duty


IAEGER, WV (WVNS) — Firefighters responded to a house fire Sunday, June 21, 2020 and they quickly put it out, but that fire rekindled.

Chris Riffe is the Chief of Iaeger Police and worked as a volunteer firefighter for six years.

“It caught two other structures on fire,” Riffe explained.

The owner of one of the two houses that caught fire ran back into the flames to get more belongings. That is when Russel Roberson ran into the doorway, bringing the man back outside.

“Essentially saving his life,” Riffe said.

By running back into the flames, Roberson inhaled smoke. He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

“Maybe there was some smoke inhalation. Plus, the heat and the stress of fighting the fire,” Riffe speculates.

The Iaeger Volunteer Fire Department lost a loyal firefighter of 16 years. People say he did not know a stranger, and everyone who knew him, knew he loved his time at the station.

“Oh, he loved it. This was his life,” Riffe said.

As they remember him, they find comfort knowing he died, doing what he loved.

“I think that if he had to choose which way he was going to leave this earth, helping somebody would be the way he wanted it to happen. Fighting a fire, being in his bunker gear, being with his brothers and sisters in the department, essentially just saving lives: that’s what he wanted to do,” Riffe said.

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