By Eric Egan
RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- A Ridgeville community and its firefighters are dealing with the loss of one of their own. Volunteer firefighter Michael Broz was killed in a car accident Sunday.
Officials say Broz was responding to a fire when it happened.
Broz was a firefighter for 30 years at both Ridgeville and Dorchester Rural. His family is devastated by the loss of their hero.
"He was a wonderful, devoted father to his grandchildren, he claimed them as his own," said Broz's wife Dixie.
Broz, 58, died Sunday afternoon when his pickup truck crashed along Horseford Road in Dorchester County. On Monday, his wife of 32 years described the man she knew as dependable and committed.
"His life was dedicated to other peoples' lives and to service," she said.
Broz was volunteering as a health and safety officer for Dorchester Rural.
It was 4:30 p.m. Sunday when he got the call of a fire at Biedler Forest, not far from his home.
From what officers said, Broz was approaching a bridge on Horseford Road, but before he got to it, he came to a sharp curve in the road. His truck left behind tire markings where he lost control, went off the road and ended up in a ditch.
Broz's truck had to be pulled from the ditch, pieces from it, including chunks of the windshield, were left behind.
Broz had served with Dorchester County since 2001. He worked at the Ridgeville Fire Department since the early 80s and was the assistant chief there for a time.
It was his nature, his family said, to always help when he could, just like he had tried to do before the accident.
His family said they will hold on to that memory of Michael Broz.
Broz was wearing his seatbelt during the accident, the Highway Patrol is investigating the cause.
Firefighters in Dorchester County were like a second family to Broz.
The funeral has been scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Parks Funeral Home in Summerville. The family has set up a memorial fund to benefit Broz's wife at Enterprise Bank.
Gov. Nikki Haley has asked for flags to be flown at half-staff Thursday in Broz's memory.