‘Spitfire’ Virginia firefighter injured when fire truck crashed on way to call has died: ‘There are no words’

'Spitfire' Virginia firefighter injured when fire truck crashed on way to call has died: 'There are no words'

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. — A Louisa County firefighter injured in a crash while responding to a fire seven weeks ago has died, officials announced Saturday.

Virginia State troopers say the victim, 20-year-old Mia Ethridge, was in a Mineral Volunteer fire engine when the truck ran off the road and hit a tree at around 2:50 p.m. on July 9.

Ethridge was receiving care at UVA Medical Center and taken off life support over the weekend.
Troopers said that it was raining at the time of the crash.

Provided to WTVR

Mia Ethridge

“We ask our citizens to join us in remembering Mia for her bravery and heroism,” Louisa County officials wrote in a statement Saturday. “She and her family will remain in the thoughts and prayers of not only the Fire & EMS department, but the heart of our community as a whole.”

In addition to working for Louisa County Fire and EMS, Ethridge was also a firefighter for the Stafford Volunteer Fire Department.

“She will storm the gates of heaven with her bright-eyed smile and spitfire self after she gives the gift of life,” reads a post on the Stafford Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page. “She will be the biggest sunbeam we see on all beautiful days.”

Stafford Fire Department Captain Gustavo Leite said he trained Ethridge to be a firefighter in 2020. She was the top of her class, he said, and she always sat in the front of the class and was a leader who always sought more responsibility.

“She had the heart and the spirit. Nothing was going to stop her,” Leite said.

After training Ethridge, Leite said she decided to make a career of being a first responder, and she began her career at the Louisa Fire Department.

Leite described Ethridge’s work ethic and leadership as someone who would welcome anyone and be a mentor. Leite also shared that Ethridge always had a smile and energy that lit up each department she worked in.

“She would turn the lights on the equipment and have a dance party,” Leite said.

According to Leite, Ethridge’s death has taken a toll on many young firefighters who have never experienced a loss of this magnitude.

Leite says he tells these firefighters to share the stories and memories of Ethridge, and try not to focus on the events that are painful.

“She is always going to be a part of us,” Leite said.

Officials noted that Ethridge’s family donated her organs to “give the gift of life” so that “Mia is still taking care of others.”

Ethridge’s colleagues said the best thing anyone can do to honor her life is to give back to your community by getting involved in a firefighter department.

Ethridge’s funeral will be held in the coming days.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can .

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