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Columbia Fire Department remembers fallen ‘brother’ who died 47 years ago today

A plaque that hangs in Columbia fire department headquarters and a 1971 The State article about fire fight Joe Kee.
A plaque that hangs in Columbia fire department headquarters and a 1971 The State article about fire fight Joe Kee.

He “gave his life in the line of duty” the plaque inside Columbia Fire Department headquarters reads.

Today the Columbia Fire Department is remembering their “brother” Joe Morrow Kee.

Kee was a Deputy Battalion Chief that had worked with the fire department for half his life going back to 1941, according to an article by The State in 1971. Even at 60 years old he was still responding to fires.

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Kee responded to a fire on Oct. 6 1971 at The Gate House restaurant, which was on Bluff Road near Williams-Brice Stadium. While responding to the fire Kee had a heart attack, The State reported the day after the fire. Kee passed away from the heart attack.

The fallen fire fighter received a headline in The State following his passing.

“Mr. Kee was born in Richburg,” the article read. “He had lived in Columbia for many years and was a member of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church and a Mason. He had been associated with the fire department for 30 years.”

He was survived by his wife, his son and a brother and sister and was buried in Crescent Hill Memorial Gardens.

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