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UPDATE: Lt. Bruce Britt killed in walkway collapse at Missouri University apartments

Click here to watch raw video from Saturday afternoon briefing

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Fire Chief Chuck Witt and the MU Chancellor spoke to the public Saturday afternoon to address the death of Lt. Bruce Britt in a collapse at University Village apartments.Witt said firefighters responded to a structure collapse around 4:45 a.m. Witt said Britt was trapped while responding and emergency officials rescued him. He received emergency medical services and an ambulance transported him to University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

MO Columbia chief briefs on Lt Britt death 2-22-14

Witt said he spent the entire morning supporting Britt’s family and he will continue to support them. He also said he will “work to support the Columbia Fire Department family to overcome this tragedy.”MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin thanked the responders for saving students and extended condolences to Britt’s family.“Because of him and others, a number of our students are safe today,” Loftin said. “We are very concerned with the ongoing safety of all of the Mizzou family, especially our students.”

City of Columbia press release:

The City of Columbia is deeply saddened by the loss of Columbia Fire Department Lieutenant Bruce Britt, a 23-year veteran who was killed in the line of duty while assisting citizens on the scene of a structural collapse. 

Mayor Bob McDavid expressed his condolences. “On behalf of all residents of the City of Columbia and the City Council, I extend our deepest sorrow and condolences to the Britt Family,” McDavid said.
City Manager Mike Matthes extends heartfelt sympathy to the Britt family, especially Lieutenant Britt’s daughter and wife, Leigh Britt, who directs the City’s Office of Neighborhood Services.
“The City of Columbia family is devastated by this tragic loss of one of our own. As an organization and as individuals, we will do everything we can to support the Britt family, the men and women of the Columbia Fire Department and employees who mourn for Lieutenant Britt,” Matthes said.
Lieutenant Britt suffered fatal injuries in the collapse at 601 Providence Road South, University Village Apartments, and was pronounced deceased at University Hospital. 
City Manager Mike Matthes will order flags at all City buildings to be flown half mast for 30 days in honor of Lieutenant Britt’s sacrifice. Columbia citizens are encouraged to lower their flags in a show of support and gratitude.


Columbia Fire Department press release:

Columbia Fire Department Lieutenant Bruce Britt, 23 year veteran, was killed in the line-of duty while assisting citizens on the scene of a structural collapse. Lieutenant Britt suffered fatal injuries in the collapse at 601 Providence Road South, University Village Apartments and was pronounced deceased at University Hospital.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time and the members of our department.

Details are pending.

A press conference will be held at Fire Station One, 201 Orr Street at 2pm this afternoon.

MO Columbia collapse 3

Ashley Jost, Columbia Tribune:

A Columbia firefighter died Saturday morning responding to a walkway collapse at a university apartment complex.The Columbia Fire Department said in a news release that an unnamed firefighter “suffered fatal injuries on the scene of a structural collapse” at 601 S. Providence Road, the location of the University Village apartment complex. The firefighter was pronounced dead at University Hospital. The news release didn’t detail the firefighter’s injuries, and said the person’s name is being withheld pending family notification.

Miranda Metheny, Columbia Missourian:

At 4:15 a.m., MU student Ghazwan Alwan said he woke up to a loud crashing noise. He thought something had fallen on the roof of his new apartment, maybe an animal from the surrounding woods. Other residents said they thought it might be an earthquake. But when Alwan looked out his window, he saw that the walkway of his building had collapsed. Fire trucks and emergency personnel arrived about three minutes after Alwan called 911, he said.  One of the responding firefighters was fatally injured at the scene, according to a Columbia Fire Department news release. He was pronounced dead at University Hospital on Saturday morning. His name is not being released until his family is notified, according to the release. Alwan said he saw the firefighter fall and lose consciousness before being taken away by an ambulance. “He was walking on the hanging part. I tried to warn him,” he said. “Then he suddenly fell down, and he didn’t wake up.”

Statement from Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin:

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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