CINCINNATI -- Local firefighters paid their respects to a fallen Kentucky comrade at the Firefighter's Memorial downtown Tuesday morning.
Whitley City Fire Lt. Arlie “Pooh” Hill III, 37, suffered extensive burns while searching a burning house in August. He died Sunday at the University of Cincinnati Burns Center.
While Hill was treated here, local firefighters kept a constant vigil at his bedside and provided assistance to Hill's family.
"To everyone who has helped in some way to support the Hill family and our department, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart," Whitley Fire Chief Tony Miller said at Tuesday's prayer service. "You have touched all of us in more ways and more deeply than you will ever know."
After the service, local firefighters joined a procession led by Kentucky state police that escorted Hill's body down I-75 to his hometown near the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Other firefighters and first responders stood in salute at overpasses on the way.
Hill was investigating a house fire on Aug. 30 with his brother-in-law, Adam Stephens, also a lieutenant with the Whitley City Fire Department, according to FireFighterCloseCalls.com. Hill and Stephens believed the family was still inside the home.
A “flashover” trapped Hill in the living room. Stephens was able to reach Hill and removed him from the burning home.
Hill suffered burns to more than 90 percent of his body. He was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center then to the burn unit at the UC.
God called our hero home. A golden heart stopped beating and God opened his mansion to our hero, Pooh. Please keep the family and community in your prayers. Continue to pray for strength and guidance for everyone. Your prayers and thoughts are certainly appreciated and will be the best support that you can give right now. Thank you to everyone who has called, texted, and kept up with this battle. Your kindness is beyond appreciated and thanked.
Lt Hill was one heck of a fighter-as we personally witnessed. Since August 30th, when Dr's told the family there was no hope-they remained hope full and held on to their deep faith in God. And while Lt Hill has now tragically passed, their faith gave them that much more time with him. Dozens upon dozens of Firefighters from the greater Cincinnati/Ohio//Northern Kentucky area have been at the hospital since that day supporting and assisting in every possible way. This allowed many of us to get to close to the Hill and Stephens families/ friends, as well as with Chief Tony Miller and his members of the WCFD - support them through this truly "beyond difficult" journey.
Hill is survived by his wife, Sharen Hill, of Stearns, Ky. and two children.