Whitley City Fire Lt. Arlie "Pooh" Hill III dies at University of Cincinnati Medical Center

CINCINNATI -- A volunteer firefighter who suffered burns over 90 percent of his body after rushing into a southern Kentucky home because he thought a child was trapped inside has died.

Fire Lt. Arlie "Pooh" Hill III, of Whitley City, passed away at about 8 p.m. Sunday at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The 37-year-old husband and father of two had been in the hospital since Aug. 30 when he and his brother-in-law, Adam Stephens, rushed to help put out a blaze that had ignited at a house down the street from where they were socializing.

According to the Whitley City Fire Department, as the men searched the home, Hill became trapped in a "flashover" in the living room area. Stephens, a fellow firefighter in Whitely City, struggled to get to Hill but was eventually able to pull him from the home.

The men rushed into the McCreary County home because they thought a child was inside, but it was later determined the house was empty, according to WATE  in Kentucky.

"Their first concern was if there's a child in there, we need to get the child out. So they rushed in without hesitating, to see if there was anyone they could save," Greg Bird, spokesperson for the Whitley City Fire Department, told WATE on the night of the fire.

Whitley City Fire Chief Tony Miller said Hill suffered burns over 90 percent of his body and was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He was then transported to UCMC, where he remained at the burn unit until he succumbed to his injuries.

Hill's chest was covered in third degree burns. Second degree burns covered most of the rest of his body.

Several dozen firefighters from the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area visited Hill in the hospital and helped support his family over the past month, Miller said.

On Tuesday, Hill's body will be picked up from a Norwood funeral home and taken to the Cincinnati Firefighter Headquarters downtown where a procession of fire apparatus between Cincinnati and Whitley City.

"Lt. Hill laid his life down on the line for somebody he didn't know. And for somebody he may not have known was in there. Anytime a firefighter is killed in the line of duty this is the least we can honor our firefighters that have given all to protect our community," said Matt Alter, president of the Cincinnati Firefighters Union, Local 48.

The public is invited to attend a service at 9 a.m. followed by the procession at 10 a.m.

Since the accident, the community has rallied around Hill and his family and started a Facebook page called "Prayers for Pooh."

Sunday, it was filled with condolences for the volunteer firefighter who many called a hero.

Memorial Services for Hill will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2 at McCreary Central High School in Stearns, Kentucky.

Family viewing will begin at 9 a.m., with public viewing to follow at 10 a.m. Services will be held at 2 p.m.

A private graveside service will take place that afternoon with family members and local firefighters attending.

Whitley City is located just west of Interstate 75, near London and Corbin, north of the Tennessee line in Kentucky.

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You can find out more information at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/Prayersforpooh

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