UPDATE: A 1:45 p.m. news briefing about a house fire that killed firefighter Lt. Randy Parker was opened with a prayer for Parker and his friends and family.
Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said the call for the south Macon fire came in at 5:46 p.m., and crews arrived minutes later. Firefighters fought the blaze for over an hour, and then a code red was called, "which in our world means something has happened or something catastrophically is about to occur," Riggins said.
The floor of the house had collapsed, and five firefighters fell down into the basement, he said.
Firefighters then began rescue efforts. Four firefighters were rescued "relatively quick," Riggins said.
"Lt. Parker was apparently one of the first firefighters to fall through from the first level and was pinned in," Riggins said. "It took us a substantial amount of time to extricate him from his entrapped situation. Unfortunately, by the time we were able to extricate him ... he did not survive this catastrophic event.
Six firefighters, including Parker, were taken to the Medical Center. Battalion Chief Stephen Stafford, 59, was airlifted to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, and firefighters Adam Michie, 34, and Ferrell Cromer, 46, were taken by ambulance to the burn center.
Two other firemen -- Matt Couey, 27, and Ben Bollinger, 28 -- were listed in stable condition at the Medical Center.
"I have spoken to the families, the preliminary reports that I have gotten from the families is that they're all in good condition at this time," Riggins said.
Mitchie's family is hopeful that he will be able to leave Augusta Thursday. Cromer is restless and ready to leave, Riggins said. Stafford is still sedated, but his condition is improving, and his family is positive about his status.
Come back to macon.com for updates.
Here is a previous version of this story:
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating Wednesday night's fire that killed a Macon-Bibb firefighter and injured five others.
ATF investigators joined local investigators Thursday morning at the house at 2320 Fairview Drive, just south of Rocky Creek Road.
The federal assistance is routine when a firefighter is killed, said Sgt. Ben Gleaton, a Macon-Bibb fire investigator who kept vigil with his partner at the scene overnight.
Investigators looking for a cause of the fire started sifting through the ruins about 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Fire officials are planning a 1:45 p.m. briefing on the case.
Lt. Randy Parker, 46, suffered fatal injuries when he fell through the floor of the burning home in south Macon.
Parker was pronounced dead at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, at 9:09 p.m., Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.
District Chief Nathaniel Hall said the loss weighs heavy on the whole department.
"This is just a terrible thing," Hall said as he arrived at the scene Thursday morning. "We're just trying to come to grips with it."
A few minutes before 6 p.m., firefighters arrived to find the house engulfed in flames.
After an initial group of firefighters went into the house, the floor collapsed, and several firefighters fell into the basement, said Chris Floore, spokesman for the Macon-Bibb County government.
Six firefighters, including Parker, were taken to the Medical Center. Battalion Chief Steven Stafford, 59, was airlifted to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, and firefighters Adam Mitchie, 34, and Ferrell Cromer, 46, were taken by ambulance to the burn center, Jones said.
Two of the three taken to Augusta are being treated for smoke inhalation, and the other for smoke inhalation and burns on his hand.
Two other firemen -- Matt Couey, 27, and Ben Bollinger, 28 -- were listed in stable condition at the Medical Center, Jones said.
The homeowners, identified by a neighbor as Don and Kathy Coffey, were able to get out of their brick home unharmed.
The initial fire company arrived on the scene at 5:51 p.m., just minutes after they were called.
At 6:43 p.m, while firefighters were actively battling the flames, the floor near the front door gave way, sending a group of responders into the basement below and setting off a “code red,” which called for an immediate evacuation and the start of rescue efforts, Floore said.
After the six firemen were taken to the hospital, Parker was pronounced dead.
“He is an officer that served our community for more than 20 years,” Floore said.
Macon-Bibb County government is asking the community to keep the families of Parker and the other injured firemen in their thoughts and prayers, Floore said late Wednesday. “Also please reach out to their crew members and friends as this is a tragedy which impacts all of us,” he said.
Earlier in the night at the fire scene, the Coffeys’ neighbor Sandra Carter said she was alerted to the fire by a loud noise.
“I heard what sounded like something exploded,” she said. “I ran screaming for my neighbors, but they didn’t hear me.” She eventually made contact with the Coffeys.
Carter said she feared the worst for one of the firefighters, who later turned out to be Parker.
“It just seemed like an eternal time that he had been trapped in there,” she said.
Carter said three of the Coffeys’ dogs were killed in the blaze, although firefighters could not confirm that Thursday morning.
Once word spread of accident, off-duty firefighters rushed to the scene to relieve those who were fighting the fire, Hall said.
"We're such a family. We put our lives on the line everyday," he said. "We don't want to take for granted what we do, but we're survivors. We're running in when everyone else is running out."
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331. To contact writer Andy M. Drury, call 744-4477.