Memorial services will be held Friday and Saturday for Howard County firefighter Nathan Eric Flynn, who was killed battling a blaze Monday morning at a Clarksville home.
The cause of the deadly fire has not yet been determined and the investigation continued Tuesday, said a Howard County fire department spokesman, Brad Tanner.
Investigators with the Howard County fire marshal’s office were at the site of the fire Tuesday, aided by the state fire marshal’s office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, including personnel from the ATF Fire Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Tanner said.
Howard County police were also on scene investigating the circumstances of Flynn’s death, as they would for any death in the county, police spokesman Seth Hoffman said.
A viewing for Flynn is planned for noon to 8 p.m. Friday at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Gov. Larry Hogan, Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, Fire Chief John S. Butler and fire department personnel will attend the funeral, as will Flynn’s family, Tanner said.
Born in Virginia Beach, Va., Flynn, 34, served for 13 years as a member of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Flynn is the department’s first career firefighter to be killed in the line of duty. He also volunteered at the Susquehanna Hose Co. in Havre de Grace, where he lived.
Flynn was recalled in an obituary Tuesday as a loving family man who enjoyed boating, model trains and fixing up his family’s house. He also was an Eagle Scout.
“Most of all, Mr. Flynn enjoyed being with his wife and kids,” the obituary read. “He excelled not only at his fire service but also as a husband and father.”
He is survived by his wife, Celeste Ferguson Flynn, and five children and stepchildren.
“My heart is broken and I have no words,” Celeste Flynn wrote in a public Facebook post Monday night.
“The loss is tremendous and numbing,” she wrote. “The show of support and compassion from family, friends, and the community is overwhelming. Nathan Flynn loved his job and he believed in the traditions and brotherhood more than most — he would be so proud of all of you and grateful for the care and grace shown to me today.”
An online fundraiser created by the local union, the Howard County Professional Fire Fighters Association, surpassed its goal of raising $50,000 for Flynn’s family. The GoFundMe effort had received over $58,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.
The owners of the home that burned, Janet and Nayab Siddiqui, donated $10,000 to the fund and said in a statement that they were grieving for Flynn.
“Structures can be rebuilt, but the loss of a loved one is irreplaceable,” the Siddiquis wrote. “We are profoundly grateful and thank the fire department for their bravery and dedication today.”
Firefighters were sent to the home at 7005 Woodscape Drive shortly before 2 a.m. Monday after a 911 caller reported smoke in the building from “a potential lightning strike,” Tanner said.
Nearby resident Steven James said that a loud lightning strike woke him up around 2 a.m.
“It was so loud. It hit and it echoed,” James said of the noise, which he recognized because lightning has struck his house and nearby trees in the past.
Flynn was with one of the first crews to enter the building. A firefighter issued a mayday call at 2:20 a.m. when Flynn fell through the first floor into the basement, authorities said. He was extricated 22 minutes later and taken to Howard County General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.