Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The City of Columbia says one of their employees died while trying to help with the city's response during Hurricane Irma Monday.
The city confirmed that Assistant Superintendent Arthur D. Strudwick, 48, was injured in a car accident on his way to a downed tree. Strudwick was taken to the hospital where he later died.
The city of Columbia said Strudwick's car went off the road and struck a tree. While the cause of the accident is under investigation, it's believed weather was a contributing factor.
"It is with a very heavy heart that I must announce the loss of one of our City of Columbia employees," City Manager Teresa Wilson said in a statement."
"Arthur was employed with the Forestry and Beautification Division of the Public Works Department. He was a dedicated public servant with the City of Columbia since 12/11/2001."
"Many people are aware of the sacrifices made by those who work in public safety departments, however only a few people realize that our staff in Public Works are also considered first responders during an emergency or crisis situation. These employees are considered essential and report for duty in all conditions in order to serve the needs of the public."
"Arthur was a wonderful employee who always maintained a positive attitude and cooperative spirit. He will be missed by his co-workers and colleagues at the City of Columbia. Everyone is deeply saddened by this devastating loss. Grief counselors are assisting staff."
"Our condolences and prayers go out to the Strudwick family during this period of bereavement."
"Please keep the City of Columbia family in your thoughts as well during this difficult time."
The city says flags will be flown at half-staff at all city buildings in tribute and in memory of Arthur.