Blaze Takes Life of Age 4 Boy & His Family. Firefighters Honor His Life with One Photo


James Raugh, 4, loved tractors and the outdoors. He has been described as a “typical little boy” who wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up.

Tragically, the description of James above came from an online obituary. He died on Jan. 8. in a house fire.

James’ father, 25-year-old Nate Raugh, also died in the fire along with James’ two younger siblings. Mother Brittany King Raugh was out when the mobile home caught fire.

The blaze was so bad that it took 20 minutes of firefighters working on the scene before they were even able to enter the home. The bodies of Nate, James, 3-year-old Missy, and 23-month-old Jordan were found inside around 1 a.m.

Like many young boys, James enjoyed dressing up in firefighting gear. But unlike many 4-year-olds, the little boy has recently been put “on duty” as an honorary firefighter.

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Because James never had the chance to become a firefighter as an adult, his family requested that fire departments around the country honor James by having him “on duty” until his funeral.

Bartow County Fire Department made a tag for Firefighter James Raugh that joined the tags of other firefighters on duty in various engines.

They also decided to honor James’ life by using the cherished photo of him dressed up as a firefighter to represent his presence on the engines as an honorary firefighter.

The Facebook page of Bartow County Fire Department posted on Jan. 11, “James Raugh dreamed of being a firefighter…So tonight it is our great honor to have Honorary FF James Raugh On Duty with every engine and ladder company with the Bartow County Fire Department. RIP little guy! #JRaughOnDuty.”

City of Lake Geneva Fire Department also honored the family’s wish to have James “on duty” with as many departments as possible.

They made a giant cutout using the photo of James and placed it in one of their engines.

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They even labeled one of their jackets with the name “J. Raugh.” If you search the hashtag “#JRaughOnDuty,” you can see how James’ life has been honored across the country.

Even little James’ uncle was a firefighter, which explains why he was so passionate about the career. His uncle, T. J. Johnson, fondly remembered the boy’s joy over experiencing a small taste of the firefighter life.

“He just loved the lights and sirens. Any time he’d come to the house, even if I didn’t have a call, he wanted to turn these red lights and stuff on in my truck,” Johnson said.

His name can be found on hats, jackets, and even whiteboard schedules at various fire departments. Many firefighters turned up for the funeral, as well, joining family in an emotional final farewell.

Though it was under tragic circumstances, James’ dream of being a firefighter has been realized. Thanks to all the caring individuals who made this heartfelt memorial a reality.

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Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College.
Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College. Carolyn's writing has been featured in both online and print media, including Just Between Us magazine. She resides in Phoenix with her husband and children.
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