WAYCROSS, Ga. -- Investigators now consider the death of a Waycross firefighter a homicide, after the cause of the fire he was battling was ruled an arson.
The incident happened Sunday morning at a house on Isabella Street.
Witnesses tell Action News 50-year-old David Jeff Little went into the house on Isabella Street to look for possible occupants and hotspots when he became trapped himself. A ceiling collapsed on him, according to Chief David Eddins.
Eddins reports that other firefighters went in after Little and were able to pull him out.
He was eventually transported to the hospital where he later died, firefighters say.
Investigators now consider the fire to be an arson, and so under Georgia statutes, it is now a murder case.
Eddins released the following statement on the death:
"The City of Waycross Fire Department is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of David Jeff Little on Sunday, December 15, 2013 while working a structure fire in Waycross, Georgia. According to Chief Eddins - Jeff's loss hits deep into the heart and soul of this community and Fire Department."
The Georgia State Fire Marshal, Waycross Police Department and Waycross Fire Marshal continue to investigate the case.
Little had been with the Waycross Fire Department since 2002. He had previously held high-ranking positions with Childersburg Fire and Rescue in Alabama before moving to Waycross to work at the Ware State Prison.
Little was 50 years old.