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Volunteer firefighter on Rhodes dies of respiratory collapse

A volunteer firefighter on the island of Rhodes died in the local hospital he sought after suffering from severe respiratory problems. His relatives urge for exact determination of the causes of his death claiming his respiratory system suffered from his extensive exposure to wildfire smoke for 12 consecutive days.

The 40-year-old father of two participated in extinguishing the fire on Rhodes and died on Wednesday.

The man had been transferred to the General Hospital of Rhodes, on the first day that the fires broke out on the island, with a leg injury. The doctors gave him special instructions, but the volunteer continued to work on the fiery fronts.

Tuesday night the volunteer firefighter was taken by ambulance to the hospital with symptoms of shortness of breath, stomach pains and weakness.

Initially, emergency doctors reportedly advised him to return home, but the tests he underwent revealed that he had suffered respiratory failure.

He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and intubated in order to remove fluid from his lungs. However, he died shortly after his ICU admission of a heart attack.

The volunteer firefighter was a hotel professional in the tourism sector.

One of his relatives, a cousin, told that the 40-year-old had no health problems but suffered a lot during the multi-day extinguishing of the wildfire.

“He was in the fires every day. He was in front of the flames every day. His relatives assume that the liquid he had collected in his lung was from the previous days. We are waiting for the medical examination to see why, as he never had health problems. He didn’t have a cold or anything else.”

Another relative told, that doctors told him he had inhaled a lot of carbon dioxide.”

Giorgos was from Archaggelos but he was living with his wife and two underage children family in the village of Pylonas.

The exact cause of the volunteer firefighter’s death are to be determined in an autopsy.

The wildfire on Rhodes started on July 18, raged over days and was largely under control 11-12 days later, July 29, 2023.

PS I don;t know what protective measures the volunteer firefighters had all these day, but I recall to have read some report that at some point they were looking for masks and other equipment.

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One comment

  1. RIP brave man. And condolences to his family. Such things should not be allowed to happen.