The City of Sterling is mourning the death of a 38-year-old fire lieutenant after he was killed responding to a house fire late Friday in rural Rock Falls.
According to the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call was received around 11:04 p.m. regarding a house fire at 10031 Ridge Road.
Sterling Fire Department responded to an automatic aid alarm to assist the Rock Falls Fire Department.
Crews from Dixon (city and rural), Milledgeville, Prophetstown, Tampico, Polo, Harmon, Amboy, Mount Morris and the Chadwick fire districts — as well as CGH EMS support — provided assistance.
While Sterling Fire Lt. Garrett Ramos was inside fighting the house fire, the floor collapsed beneath him, necessitating a rescue operation, a news release says.
“EMS crews attempted life-saving techniques en route to CGH Medical Center, where doctors continued their life-saving efforts to no avail,” said the sheriff’s office in a statement.
This is the first line of duty death in the history of the Sterling Fire Department.
Fire Lt. Ramos served with the department since October 2012. He leaves behind his wife and two young children.
The sheriff’s office describes Fire Lt. Ramos as an “amazing individual of the highest caliber on and off duty” and says this is a “truly devastating loss” to both his family and his City of Sterling family — especially to those in the fire service and larger Sterling community.
“The City asks that you please keep his family and the brotherhood of Sterling firefighters in your prayers as we grieve the loss of one of the finest gentlemen one could ever meet,” said the sheriff’s office.
A full investigation will be conducted by the Illinois State Fire Marshal.
Due to the pending investigation, the City of Sterling and Sterling Fire Department are referring all questions to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
No further information is available at this time.