Gene Meir Kirchner, Firefighter

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Firefighter Kirchner and another firefighter responded in Special Unit 418 (SU418) to a report of a residential structure fire with residents trapped. SU418 was the first fire department unit to arrive on-scene and reported smoke showing.

Firefighter Kirchner and the other firefighter donned their personal protective equipment, conducted a reconnaissance of the building, reported someone trapped on the second floor to other firefighters, entered the structure ahead of an engine crew that was advancing a handline, and began a search of the second floor. Firefighters encountered heavy smoke conditions inside and, within minutes, heard a Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) device sounding.

A MAYDAY was declared. Firefighter Kirchner was found in a bedroom unconscious. Firefighters removed him to the exterior and found that he was not breathing. Firefighter Kirchner was transported to the hospital by ambulance but died as a result of his injuries on May 2, 2013.

The cause of death for Firefighter Kirchner was listed as smoke inhalation and thermal injuries with complications. One civilian was also killed in the fire.

The Baltimore County Fire Department prepared an extensive report on this incident. The report is available at

Incident Location: 19 Hanover Road, Reisterstown, MD (USNG: 18S UJ 4257 7062)

Department information

Baltimore County Fire Department - Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company
700 E Joppa RD
USNG: 18S UJ 6312 6239
Towson, Maryland 21286-5500

Chief: John J. Hohman

View NIOSH Report »

Gene Meir Kirchner was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
Age: 25
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Volunteer
Incident date: April 24, 2013 01:00
Date of death: May 2, 2013
Cause of death: Caught or Trapped
Nature of death: Asphyxiation
Activity type: Search and Rescue
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential