Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock () or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Kody Michael Vanfossan


Firefighter Vanfossan and the members of his fire department were dispatched to a working fire in a two-story commercial structure.  Upon arrival on the scene, firefighters worked to search the building to make sure that there were no occupants.

Firefighter Vanfossan was working with his father, a Christopher Fire Department Lieutenant.  They held clear the first floor of the building but could not ascend the stairs to the 2nd story due to the instability of the stairs.  Other firefighters accessed the 2nd story over ground ladder on the exterior and Firefighter Vanfossan and Lieutenant Vanfossan utilized a ground ladder inside of the building to bridge over the stairs and access the 2nd story.

Fire conditions began to worsen, and firefighters were ordered to leave the 2nd story.  Lieutenant Vanfossan was located at the base of the interior stairs and removed from the building but Firefighter Vanfossan could not be located.  Fire conditions continued to worsen and the search for Firefighter Vanfossan was suspended.

At approximately 657hrs, Firefighter Vanfossan was located and removed from the structure.  His remains were transported to the coroner’s office.  His death was caused by smoke inhalation/asphyxiation.

Incident Location: 118 West Market Street, Christopher, Illinois

photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Kody Michael Vanfossan 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.

Department information

Christopher Fire Department
211 N Thomas Street
Christopher, Illinois 62822

Chief: Ron Learned

Age: 24
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Paid-on-Call
Incident date: May 5, 2019 03:34
Date of death: May 5, 2019
Cause of fatal injury: Collapse
Nature of fatal injury: Asphyxiation
Activity type: Search and Rescue
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Vacant Property

Last updated: July 09, 2020