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Fallen Firefighter Farewell

WHITLEY CITY, Ky. (Tiffany Wilson) -- Local firefighters gather to mourn one of their own Tuesday.

Lieutenant Arlie "Pooh" Hill died Saturday, two months after sustaining burns to 90 percent of his body.  He was from Whitley City, Kentucky but was treated at UC Medical Center.  Local 12's Tiffany Wilson shows us that state lines don't matter in the firefighting family.

Firefighters never want to see the purple and black flag flown.  It comes out only to honor a firefighter who dies in the line of duty.  Tuesday it was raised for Lieutenant Arlie Pooh Hill, a man who risked his life hoping to help another.

"The greatest thing he brought to us was his sense of humor, he always found the right words to lighten the mood."

On August 30th, while off duty, Lieutenant Hill saw smoke and rushed into a neighbor's home without hesitation or gear.  The fire flashed over and burned 90 percent of his body.  Doctors transferred him to the UC Medical Center which is about 200 miles away from his home near the Tennessee state line.

As soon as local firefighters heard, they set up a 24-hour vigil providing constant food, water and support to Hill's family.  They were never left alone so it was a task, but it was a task of love. 

He would probably be the first one to consider himself unworthy, but at the same time if it were someone else he'd be the first one there.

Hill was a fighter, overcoming a childhood accident that made him an amputee below the knee.  He wasn't handicapped at all, he was a firefighter.  He had no limitations.  He battled the burns for two months, but on Saturday his body surrendered.

Tuesday the firefighting community gathered at their memorial to honor his sacrifice.  Then they lined up to escort Hill on his last, long run.

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