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Former Ga. FF dies rescuing swimmers caught in rip current

Banks County Fire & EMS colleagues said Ritchie Alford spotted two swimmers in the rip current and went in to save them


Banks County Fire & EMS

By Bill Carey

BANKS COUNTY, Ga. — A former Georgia firefighter died after rescuing two swimmers caught in the rip current off the Florida coast on June 15.

Ritchie Alford was in Panama City Beach and spotted the swimmers in the rip current. His colleagues at Banks County Fire & EMS said that after assisting the swimmers, Alford was unable to return to shore, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

“Unfortunately, Richie was not able to make it back to shore,” the fire department posted on Facebook. “Richie died doing what he loved which was helping others in their time of need. He is a true hero.”

Alford had been a Banks County firefighter for several years. His colleagues stated he was known for his love of the job and the community.

Fire Chief Ralph Stegbauer and Firefighter Jeffery Skaggs were killed when the mechanical lift they were in fell over
Forest Bend Fire Chief John Norris was with other firefighters fighting a blaze in Friendswood
Kinnelon Lieutenant Justin Bower was found unresponsive at home after a call
“When we see these signs, it will be bittersweet. It’s a reminder of the loss — not that we ever forget it — but it also lets us know that the communities won’t forget him,” Peyton Morse’s father said