Indiana Firefighter Dies in House Fire

A volunteer firefighter responding to a possible lightning strike at a home in Tippecanoe County Sunday died battling the fire.

The fire in the 4100 block of East 700 South, near Westpoint, claimed the life of Wea Township Community Fire Deputy Chief Steven Smith, 35.

Smith was the first firefighter at the scene after the call was received, 6News' Jennifer Carmack reported.

Assistant fire chief Chris Evander said Smith went into the home and fell through the first floor into the basement.

Evander had trained Smith himself and was one of four firefighters who tried to save him.

"There are indications of great heroics that took place in the basement of this house as they attempted to bring the firefighter to safety, and every effort was made to save his life," said Indiana State Fire Marshal Roger Johnson.

Tippecanoe County Sheriff Smokey Anderson said the fire was fed by propane, which caused the floor to burn through rapidly.

Smith had been a firefighter at Wea Township for 10 years. The death was the first in the department's more than 30-year history.

Smith also worked as a mechanic at Alcoa in Lafayette. He was married and the father of three children.

Grief counselors met with Wea firefighters Sunday evening. The Indianapolis Fire Department's critical incident stress team will also help firefighters cope with the loss.

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Funeral Information

The Wea Township Fire Company in Indiana is not responding to calls for the next few days as members grieve for their deputy chief, killed in a house fire Sunday.

Funeral services for Deputy Chief Steven Smith are set for 1 p.m. Friday at Lafayette Jefferson High School. Visitation will be held from 4-9 p.m. Thursday at Soller-Baker Funeral Home in Lafayette.

Honor guards who want to participate in the casket watch detail should report to the funeral home by 11 a.m. Thursday.

A 10-year member of the volunteer company, Smith was killed when he fell through a floor into the basement of a house. His death has left fellow firefighters stunned and numb, said Kenneth Croy.

"He was very active in everything," Croy said, adding that Smith was a firefighter/EMT.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) counselors from the Indianapolis Fire Department have held sessions at Wea Township, and will continue to offer support.

Smith is survived by his wife and three daughters, 13,8 and 2.

Croy said the company appreciates the support that's been pouring in from firefighters, especially those who are filling in and giving them a break.

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