A Conway firefighter, injured Sunday while at the scene of a fire raging in a home on Hickory Circle, has died from his injuries, according to Tamara Willard, chief deputy coroner for the Horry County Coroner’s Office.
Conway Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the 1000 block of Hickory Circle at 3:23 p.m. Sunday to find heavy fire in the house. Horry County Fire Rescue was called in to assist at the scene.
“A firefighter operating on the scene was struck by a fire engine,” according to an email from Conway Fire Chief Le Hendrick. “Firefighter II Christopher Gene Ray, from the Green Sea community of Horry County, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Horry County Coroner’s Office.”
Cpl. Sonny Collins of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said Ray was riding on a Conway fire engine when he fell off and was struck as the fire truck reversed over him on Tinker Town Avenue around 3:30 p.m.
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The firefighter was injured in the early stages of the fire, according to Horry County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Brian Van Aernem.
Ray had been employed with the city of Conway since Feb. 1, 2010, and left behind a wife and two daughters. Ray joined the Conway Fire Department as a full-time member after graduating from a local firefighter training academy in 2010. He was honored for serving five years with the department in March 2015 and served on a committee with his fellow firefighters to restore an antique fire engine that was unveiled last September.
Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick has scheduled an autopsy for Monday. The South Carolina Highway Patrol’s Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team is investigating the incident.
“The City of Conway extends its deepest sympathy to Firefighter Ray’s wife Brandi, his two daughters Cheyenne and Regan, and his entire family,” Hendrick said in the email.
No other injuries were reported at the scene.
The house suffered severe damage and is considered a total loss. Horry County Fire Rescue is investigating the fire.