Area firefighters will gather Wednesday in Columbia to memorialize Rodney Hardee, former Loris assistant fire chief – and the state’s only firefighter to die in the line-of-duty last year, according to a news release.
Hardee, 66, died July 9 after he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage when he left the scene of a brush fire less than 48 hours before, according to authorities. On Wednesday, Hardee’s name will be memorialized during the annual South Carolina State Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service at the state fire academy in Columbia.
Hardee will be the only firefighter to be honored during the service, which is organized by the S.C. State Association of Fire Chiefs, at the Fallen Firefighter Memorial Plaza.
The service will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at 141 Monticello Trail in Columbia.
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Hardee had responded with crews to a late night brush fire call on July 6, but became ill after the call. He was hospitalized at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center until his death.
Hardee had served 40 years in the fire service, including 20 years as the city’s assistant fire chief and fire marshal. He also served the S.C. Army National Guard for 33 years and had obtained the rank of first sergeant.
Hardee also worked as the Loris public works director and was a deacon at Oak Dale Baptist Church.
A scholarship fund, The Rodney C. Hardee Memorial Scholarship Fund, was established in his memory for students who have survived life’s obstacles.