LODD: Mo. Lt. dies in walkway collapse

The 23-year veteran died while evacuating apartment residents

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Lt. Bruce Britt died early Saturday morning while evacuating residents from a university-owned apartment complex. A second-floor outdoor walkway collapsed with the 23-year Columbia (Mo.) Fire Department veteran on it.

Multiple news agencies reported that firefighters rescued Lt. Britt and transported him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Witnesses said Lt. Britt was walking on the walkway when it collapsed under him, entrapping him in the debris.

One witness told the Columbia Daily Tribune that when firefighters first arrived about 4:30 a.m., the walkway was only partially collapsed and that he tried to tell firefighters to stay off of it. The walkway collapsed shortly after with Lt. Britt on it.

Columbia Fire Chief Charles Witt said he had spent the day attending to Lt. Britt's family, according to the paper.

University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin issued a statement on the tragedy.

"My heart is heavy this morning as my deepest condolences go to the family of the brave City of Columbia firefighter who was fatally injured in the line of duty helping keep the residents of University Village Apartments safe.

"We are grateful that, due to the efforts of this firefighter and others, no residents were injured. My deepest gratitude goes out to everyone who assisted during this emergency."

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