todd krodle Dallas Fireman Killed Battling Apartment Blaze

Lt. Todd Krodle, who died fighting a fire on Aug. 14, 2011. (Credit: Dallas Fire Rescue)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A 17-year veteran of Dallas Fire Rescue died Sunday after falling through the roof of an apartment complex while trying to douse a three-alarm blaze.

Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said Lieutenant Todd Krodle, 41, was among the first responders to a fire at the Ridge Crest Terrace complex in the 5600 block of Plum Grove.

After falling through the ceiling, Krodle was pulled out of the flames by other fire fighters and taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he died. In the midst of an outpouring of condolences and support, DFR has begun further investigating the fire.

“We don’t know for sure if this was an existing hole, one that they cut, or if the roof itself just failed,” said Battalion Chief Roy Ferguson. “We don’t know at this time.”

Friends, family and fellow firefighters gathered at Station 26 in Oak Cliff Sunday night. With the American flag lowered to half-staff, the group mourned the loss.

“We must never lose sight that fire service is an extremely dangerous business and this brave man died doing the dangerous job he loved; protecting our citizens and our properties and making our neighborhoods safer for all of us,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement.

Evans said the fire started in a first-floor unit when an electric appliance shorted out. The fire made its way into the wall and shot up to the attic. Krodle, who joined DFR in 1993, fell through the roof “conducting ventilation efforts,” Evans said.

Witnesses reported watching other first responders pull Krodle from the flames quickly after the accident.

“As soon as they got the ladder, they put it up,” said LaTonya Hunter. “I guess they were trying to cut it open but the fire already got up there, and he fell straight through the roof. And when they brought him, all this was burned up.”

Fifty-four total firefighters responded, Evans said, and no residents were hurt.

“On behalf of the Dallas City Council and the entire City of Dallas workforce, we express our deepest sympathy to the family, friends and fellow firefighters of this courageous and dedicated firefighter,” Rawlings said.