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    ‘It takes a hero not to be afraid’: West Virginia family remembers firefighter one year after his passing

    By Sam DeCoste,


    MONTGOMERY, WV (WOWK) – One year ago, a West Virginia forest firefighter died doing what he loved .

    On April 13, 2023, 28-year-old Cody Mullens from Summersville died after a tree fell on him while he was fighting a forest fire in the Tucker Hollow area. It started as a brush fire before spreading across thousands of acres over several days.

    Mourners gather at funeral for fallen West Virginia forester

    Emily Rose, Mullens’ sister, says fighting fires is what he was born to do. It was a dream of his to fight wildfires in California, which he got to check off his bucket list the summer before he died.

    “Nothing would have ever made him quit. That’s how much he loved it,” Rose said. “It takes a hero not to be afraid of something like that.”

    Rose says that Mullens has always loved the outdoors, and helping others since they grew up together.

    “Now he could have a tough exterior at times. But I knew that’s Cody just being Cody. On the inside, he’s as soft as can be,” Rose said.

    Rose remembers when Mullens went out to fight the fire in Montgomery. She distinctly recalled how long the fire had been burning.

    “I knew that Cody was out fighting a fire that he’d been fighting for several days. It hadn’t rained in what felt like weeks, it was a very large fire,” Rose said.

    Even though Mullens fought forest fires for the West Virginia Division of Forestry for more than three years, Rose said she never worried he could get hurt on the job.

    “I just never thought that anything of that realm could happen. It never crossed my mind. It was something I never thought about,” Rose said.

    Four months after Mullens passed, Rose had her first child, Daxton. He’s seven months old. Rose says she will always remember the moment she told Mullens that he was going to be an uncle.

    “Cody is known for his hugs. He gave me one of his big Cody hugs and said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ He was excited,” Rose said.

    While Daxton will not get to meet his uncle, his mother says his memory will always burn brightly in their hearts.

    “He was someone who made anyone feel like they were somebody. He’d always been like that growing up. He was always kind to everyone,” Rose said.


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    Breaking News

    Forty-year-old David Bass is the man accused of setting the fire that killed Mullens.

    In September, Bass was indicted in Fayette County Circuit Court for murder and arson-related charges. He is currently being held in Sharpes Hospital in Weston after the court determined he remains “incompetent to stand trial.”

    It is unclear when Bass could be released and reappear in court.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WOWK 13 News.

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