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Infection killed fireman

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A Saucier firefighter who died from a line-of-duty injury died of a staph infection, Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove confirmed. Gary Kistler Sr., 65, cut a finger removing a piece of equipment from a truck Jan. 30 while responding to a fatal traffic accident at U.S. 49 and West Wortham Road, Hargrove said.

Kistler died Feb. 5 after an overnight hospital stay. The retired Seabee from Spokane, Wash., had settled in South Mississippi in 1966. He was a firefighter for 30 years and was Saucier Volunteer Fire Department’s only paid firefighter.

Cuts and broken skin are common injuries among firefighters and emergency medical personnel, Hargrove said.

“He probably didn’t even realize he was ill, and that was a problem. He had gone to the hospital to be checked for a possible pulled muscle after responding to a fire and a couple of days later, he got real ill and was taken by ambulance to a hospital. The infection had spread throughout his body.”

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