Fighting back overwhelming emotions, Howard County officials addressed the media following the passing of firefighter Nathan Flynn, who died battling an early Monday morning blaze at a Clarksville home.
“Nate was 13-year veteran of the department," said Howard County Fire and EMS Deputy Chief William Anuszewski. "He was a recruit out of Class 20; that’s where he graduated from. He was a heck of a firefighter. He loved the fire service. He loved his family – both his fire department family and his home family.”
Department officials said the fire Flynn was fighting broke out at about 2 a.m. in the 7000 block of Woodscope Road. Flynn fell from the first story into the basement when entered the structure.
“As the firefighters were making their way inside the structure, Firefighter Flynn fell through the floor from the first floor to the basement," Anuszewski said describing the series of events. "Immediately upon the mayday being called, a rapid intervention team was deployed. An extensive search was conducted to find firefighter Flynn. The crews conducting the search experience heavy fire conditions in the basement. At approximately 2:42 a.m. Firefighter Flynn was found and removed from the structure, where he was immediately given emergency care and transported to Howard County General Hospital.
Anuszewski said the mayday call went out at about 2:20 a.m., and Flynn was removed 22 minutes later. More details about his injury were not revealed at the time. Flynn's body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The State Fire Marshall's Office is aiding in the investigation of the fire.
"Our job now is to make sure his family and our brother is laid to rest with dignity and all the hours we can provide to him," said Richard Ruehl, President of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 200, the union of which Flynn was a part. "It’s always our job to take care of the family…forever. They’re ours now, and they always will be."
Flynn is the first Howard County firefighter to die in the line of duty.
"This is the first time, as the County Executive noted, that we’ve ever had to deal with this in Howard County," Ruehl said, "and honestly, we don’t know what to do right now."
Ruehl thanked Howard County Executive Alan Kittleman and the IAFF for the support they are providing in this challenging time. Ruehl said Kittleman was with them when they notified Flynn's wife in a very difficult early morning phone call.
“This is a very sad, tragic day for Howard County," Kittleman said. "Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers. .... and hug your kids.”
Flynn was involved with other area first responders as well. As a resident of Havre De Grace, he volunteered with the Susquehanna Hose Company and was a member of the Harford County Technical Rescue Team.
Havre De Grace Mayor William T. Martin issued the following statement on Flynn's death; "The City was overcome with grief this morning as we learned of the passing of one of our own, Nathan Flynn. Nathan, a son of Havre De Grace, was part of the revered legacy of the Susquehanna Hose Company and an honored member of our community. I ask everyone to keep Nathan and his family in your prayers as our city, and the entire state, mourns his passing."