Missouri firefighter killed at walkway collapse

February 23, 2014 8:54:56 AM PST
Flags on all city buildings in Columbia, Mo., will be flown at half-mast for 30 days in honor of a veteran firefighter who was killed while helping evacuate students from a University of Missouri-run apartment complex after a second-story walkway collapsed.

Columbia Fire Chief Chuck Witt says Lt. Bruce Britt became trapped beneath rubble while responding to the collapse early Saturday at University Village Apartments.

Some second-floor residents had to climb out of their windows and down ladders to get to safety. No residents were injured.

City Manager Mike Matthes says "The City of Columbia family is devastated by this tragic loss of one of our own."

University Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin says structural engineers have been brought in to examine the building. He says all other Residence Life facilities owned by the university are being inspected and that on Monday all of the university's buildings would be examined to ensure structural integrity.

The apartment complex, built in 1956, houses students with children, married students, single graduate students and students older than 21.

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