MapsReportsWLF LinksMedia ArticlesMultimediaComments


Incident Name:  Londonderry Fire
Date:  9/24/10
Personnel:  Ryan Seitz
Age:  26
Agency/Organization:  McArthur Fire Department in Londonderry, Ross County, OH
Position: Firefighter

Summary: While working with other firefighters to bring an outdoor fire under control, Firefighter Seitz was struck and killed by a part of a pressurized water tank that exploded. Although the investigation continues, initial reports from local authorities indicate that a pressure valve or pressure plate on the water tank on the brush truck had malfunctioned. The explosion injured a second McArthur firefighter who was treated at a hospital and released.

Ryan Seitz Ryan Seitz
Ryan's smile again Ryan's smile again

Horizontal line


Accident Location

Return to top

Horizontal line

Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • NIOSH Report: Volunteer Fire Fighter Killed When Pressurized Water Tank Explodes During Fire Suppression at a Brush Fire – Ohio (Please read the entire report.)
    • Contributing Factors
      • Use of a self-made water delivery system without an over-pressurization safety relief or other safety mechanism and inappropriate system components
      • Limited written operating procedures and policies
      • The pressure gauge on the water delivery system was inappropriate for its intended use
      • Limited training in the use of the equipment.
    • Key Recommendations
      • Ensure that fire suppression equipment is properly designed and safe for its intended use and refrain from using self-made equipment that does not meet applicable safe design standards and practice
      • Be aware of programs that provide assistance in obtaining alternative funding, such as grant funding, to replace or purchase fire apparatus and equipment.

Return to top
Horizontal line Links:




Return to top

Horizontal line

Media Articles and Reports.

  • Ohio Firefghter Killed Battling Brush Fires

    September 25. 2010 | Online Article (no longer online)

    LONDONDERRY, Ohio - Authorities have identified the firefighter who was killed Friday while battling a brush fire in Ross County. 26 year old Ryan Seitz, a volunteer fireman with the McArthur Fire Department in Vinton County, was killed when an end cap blew off a pressurized metal tank and struck him. The tank was being used to fight fires that broke out near the Ross-Vinton County line. A second firefighter from Vinton County was injured in the blast. The website, says that second firefighter was treated and released for non life-threatening injuries.

    About 20 homes in the Londonderry area, on state Route 327 between U.S. Route 50 and Poes Run Road were evacuated earlier on Friday because of the fires. Residents were allowed to return to their homes at about 8 p.m. Fire departments and emergency crews from other counties came to the Londonderry area to assist with the firefight. Other counties in central Ohio, including Madison and Pickaway, dealt with similar fires on Friday. Ross County is about 150 miles east of Cincinnati.

    Authorities in Madison County said multiple fields near state Route 38 caught fire on Friday afternoon. A field fire was also reported in Galloway, along Elnora Drive, in Prairie Township. The fires in Madison and Pickaway counties were extinguished by Friday evening. The National Weather Service said winds between 20 and 30 mph, with higher gusts of up to 40 mph were reported.

  • Volunteer firefighter's bright future cut short by blast

    September 26, 2010: Online Article

    The young man with the great smile had it all going on. Ryan Seitz had joined the McArthur Fire Department in Vinton County two months ago. He figured the all-volunteer department in southeastern Ohio could use the help. But the 26-year-old died on the job Friday. He was fighting a brush fire in Ross County when a piece of a pressurized water tank flew off and struck him about 6 p.m. Now, his parents are preparing to hold a funeral for their only child.

    Steve and Tonette Seitz got the call Friday evening from McArthur Fire Chief Charles Fri. He told them that a pressure valve or pressure plate on a water tank had malfunctioned. The pressurized tank exploded. "It hit him in the chest," Mrs. Seitz said. "The coroner said he was killed instantly."

    What caused the water-tank explosion aboard the department's brush truck is under investigation. The explosion injured another McArthur volunteer firefighter, Aaron Chesser, who was treated at a hospital and released. (More at the link.)

  • Obituary: Online article (no longer online)

    Ryan Neil Seitz: Born in Chillicothe, Ohio on Dec. 11, 1983
    Departed on Sep. 24, 2010 and resided in McArthur, OH.

    Ryan Neil Seitz, 26, of McArthur, passed away Friday, September 24, 2010 in the line of duty with the McArthur Fire Department in Londonderry. He was born December 11, 1983 in Chillicothe, son of Steven R. and Tonette Simpson Seitz of McArthur.

    Ryan was the Assistant Director and Technology Coordinator for the Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library in McArthur. He was a Volunteer Firefighter for the McArthur Fire Department and attended Antioch Kelly Church.

    In addition to his parents, Ryan is survived by his grandmother, Alyce Seitz; fiancé Tasha Kisor, her brother, Zach Kisor and their parents, Jim and Louise Perry; special aunts, Kathy Cecil and Pam Satory; special uncle, Alan Seitz; aunts, Sherry, Donna, Diane, Teena and Cindy; uncles, Charles, Cliff, Mike and Bobby and several cousins.

    He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Omer Seitz and maternal grandparents, Charles Simpson Sr. and Lois Black.

  • Caravan of Emergency Officials Pay Respect to Fallen Firefighter

    9/29/10: Online Article

    VINTON COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A volunteer firefighter who died in the line of duty was buried in an emotional ceremony Wednesday morning.

    Nearly 100 different fire departments and emergency organizations from across Ohio and West Virginia lined up to pay their respects to the fallen firefighter. The caravan of emergency response vehicles traveled from the Calvary Assembly of God Church to Elk Cemetery.

    The church was packed as pastors and fire officials took the podium to honor Seitz. As the church service came to an end, bagpipes led the way as the Seitz was loaded into the department's antique fire engine.

    "Old Betsy," the antique engine, lead the procession of emergency vehicles to the Elk Cemetery. Two ladder trucks from Wellston Fire Department formed an arch bearing an American flag near the entrance of the cemetery.

    A 21-gun salute followed by a Med-Flight helicopter that dipped it's nose as a show of respect wrapped up the ceremony, but not before the last call for firefighter #2456 was toned out over the radio.

    Ryan Seitz, 26, of McArthur, Ohio died last Friday after a pressurized water tank exploded.

    At the time, Seitz was trying to put out a brush fire in Ross County.

    Thursday afternoon, Fire Chief Charles Fri released the following statement on Seitz's death.

    "The fire service and the community have lost a very valuable person with the death of firefighter Ryan Seitz. Very few people have the enthusiasm and commitment that Ryan showed. Though his time with the McArthur Fire Department was far too short, his memory will live in our hearts forever."

    Seitz had been with the department for 6 weeks before his death.

  • Bill would rename part of U.S. 50 Ryan Seitz Memorial Highway

    4/5/11: Online Article

    COLUMBUS — A portion of U.S. 50 in Vinton County has moved one step closer to being named after a McArthur Fire Department volunteer who lost his life in an effort to save Londonderry from a brush fire last September.

    State Rep. John Carey, R-Wellston, announced Tuesday that House Bill 65 — which incorporates 13 memorial highways to “honor heroic Ohioans across the state” — unanimously passed the House.

    Among the honors included in HB65 is the designation of a portion of U.S. 50 in Vinton County as the “Ryan Seitz Memorial Highway.” Seitz was among firefighters from across the region battling a large wildfire that was threatening Londonderry on Sept. 24 when a pressurized water tank exploded and struck the 26-year-old, killing him. He was the first firefighter from Vinton County ever to die in the line of duty.

    “The memorial highway is one important way that we can remember Ryan Seitz’s service and sacrifice, as well as honor his family,” Carey said. “I can only strive to have the level of faith and commitment that the Seitz family has displayed during this difficult time. In honoring Ryan, we honor McArthur volunteer firefighters and men and women in fire service across our state.” (More at the link.)

    The bill in which the honors are included now must move to the Ohio Senate for consideration and then await the governor’s signature in order to become law.

  • Ryan Seitz Memorial Highway Unveiled in Vinton County, OH

    10/21/11 | Online Article

    VINTON COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Family and friends of a firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty will always have a roadside memorial to remember him by.

    The Ohio Department of Transportation unveiled "The Ryan Seitz Memorial Highway" Friday on U.S. 50 around the 30 mile marker at the Vinton/Athens County line... (More at the link...)

Return to top

Horizontal line

Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Services:
    • Funeral procession for firefighter Ryan Neil Seitz on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010.

      Funeral services will be held 10 A.M., Wednesday, 9/29/10 at the Calvary Assembly of God Church, 63849 US Highway 50, McArthur, Rev. Gary Sollars and Rev. Donald Shoemaker officiating. Interment will be in Elk Cemetery, McArthur.

      Friends may call at the Calvary Assembly of God Church on Tuesday, 9/28 from 2-8 PM. A Memorial Service for the Fallen Firefighter will be held at 7 P.M.

    • Funeral Procession : Amazing Grace on the Bagpipes at Ryan Seitz Funera>You Tube

    • The family suggests contributions be made in memory of Ryan Neil Seitz to the Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library, 120 N. Market St., McArthur, Ohio 45651 or the McArthur Fire Department, 303 W. High St., McArthur, Ohio, 45651.
  • USFA Memorial Database: Ryan N. Seitz

Return to top

Contributors to this article:

WFF Boots & Wreath logo. Please support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation