ARMSTRONG CREEK A forester with the West Virginia Division of Forestry died Thursday, April thirteenth while helping fight a forest fire in the area of Armstrong Creek in Fayette County.
That forester was identified as 28-year-old Cody Mullens of Mount Hope.
Forester Jeremy Jones told Metro News the death hit hard for everyone at Forestry.
"Our agency is so small, we're family. We all know everybody. That's what's so hard," said Jeremy Jones who heads up forest fire suppression for the Division of Forestry.
A procession of first responders transported Mullens’ remains on the two hour trek from Charleston to Nicholas County.
“Losing a brave forester is a tragedy beyond belief,” said Governor Jim Justice in a statement, “Cathy and I will keep this man and his loved ones in our prayers and ask all West Virginians to join with us.”
The death is the first in the Division of Forestry’s 114 year history.
A fire on Armstrong Creek, along a rugged mountainside, covered roughly 200 acres on and had been burning since Tuesday. Reports indicate Mullens was killed by a falling tree.
According to Jones the Friday morning rain helped dampen the forest and slowed down the fire.
Fayette County Sheriff’s Department says 39-year-old David Bass of Kimberly has been charged with four counts of wildland arson and one count murder. Bass is accused of starting a fire in Tucker Hollow area of Powellton Tuesday