SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. – A Summit County firefighter died while battling a fire at a condominium in Copper Mountain early Saturday morning, officials said.
Ken Jones, 46, fell from a five-story rooftop at the Bridge End condo building at 860 Copper Road about 2 a.m., according to a news release from Summit Fire & EMS.
Jones had climbed to the roof to find access to the fire.
The cause of the fire was still being investigated later Saturday morning.
Jones was a 20-year veteran of Summit Fire & EMS.
“He had a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone. He was a firefighter’s firefighter,” Summit Fire & EMS Chief Jeff Berino said in the news release. “He’s been a valued member of our family for many years.”
Jones was praised for his "quiet demeanor and can-do attitude, the news release said. He leaves behind a wife and two children, a 13-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl.
Steve Lipsher, a spokesperson for Summit Fire & EMS, says the department is 'shattered,' and called Jones a hero. He says Jones operated with 'bravery' and 'valor' his entire career. Lipsher and Jones knew each other for ten years.
Travis Davis, Summit Fire & EMS deputy chief, says he was close friends with Jones. He broke the news to Jones' wife.
"It’s just hard…you are just never equipped when it’s one of your own," he said.
Jones' death was the first line-of-duty death in the history of Summit Fire & EMS. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will investigate the incident, which is protocol for line-of-duty firefighter deaths. No foul play was suspected, according to the fire department.
"This is the biggest nightmare any fire department across the country could ever face," Deputy Chief Travis Davis said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.
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