'Our hearts are broken': Fla. FF dies weeks after suffering spinal injury in on-duty accident

Austin Duran started working at the Apopka Fire Department in 2020 after being a fire explorer in high school

Duty Death: Austin Duran - [Apopka, Florida]

End of Service: 07/15/2022


Monivette Cordeiro
Orlando Sentinel

APOPKA, Fla. — An Apopka firefighter has died weeks after he was severely injured at work when a heavy trailer of sand fell on him, the Apopka Fire Department announced Saturday.

Austin Duran, who had been hospitalized since the June 30 incident, started working at the department in 2020 after initially being a fire explorer during high school.

“We lost our brother, our friend, and a member of our family. Our hearts are broken for our department, for Austin [Duran]’s family, and for our community,” the fire department said in a statement.
“We lost our brother, our friend, and a member of our family. Our hearts are broken for our department, for Austin [Duran]’s family, and for our community,” the fire department said in a statement. (Photo/Apopka Fire Department)

“There are truly no words for the magnitude of this particular loss,” the fire department said in a statement. “We lost our brother, our friend, and a member of our family. Our hearts are broken for our department, for Austin’s family, and for our community.”

Duran was trying to move fell the trailer of sand when it fell on him, according to a GoFundMe set up by his sister, Sierra Duran. He was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery for traumatic injuries to his spine, his sister said.

“Austin fought this fight like a [warrior], like a hero,” she said in a fundraiser update Saturday that has raised over $75,000 of the $100,000 goal. “My heart is broken and will never fully heal. We love you so much Austin and we will miss you for the rest of our lives.”

Further information regarding Duran’s funeral arrangements will be forthcoming, according to the fire department.

“It is in these moments of sheer tragedy where our brother/sisterhood is reminded of the brevity of life, and the importance of standing together as a family,” the department said. “We ask that everyone continue to pray over our entire department, and to lift us up during this time, to come together as a community and family to lead each other through this unspeakable loss.”

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©2022 Orlando Sentinel

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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