James Michael Muller Last Alarm May 26, 2023

Irmo Fireman James Michael Muller, 25, answered his Last Alarm on Friday, May 26, battling a massive fire at the Tropical Ridge Apartments on Stoneridge Road in Columbia. Multiple fire departments responded to the blaze when the structure collapsed while Muller was trapped inside.

James Muller had served the Irmo community as a firefighter for the last seven years and was highly respected by his fellow comrades. Columbia Fire Department posted that “he was a hero who gave everything in the line of duty.”

Irmo Fire District Chief Mike Sonefeld said, “He was the epitome of what a firefighter should be, should look like, just wrapped in the one human being. Just amazing.”

The Irmo Fire District has received an overwhelming show of support from an outpouring from the community in the way of texts and calls to the station. A memorial to James Michael Muller has grown outside the division headquarters with flowers, cards and memorabilia from other stations around the state.

Irmo Mayor Barry Walker called for all flags to be flown at half-mast during this time of mourning.

“His end-of-watch was not in vain and saved 19 families that were in harm’s way,” said Walker.

The Irmo Fire Foundation is accepting donations on behalf of the Muller family HERE.

Checks can be made out to the Irmo Fire Foundation, and mailed to Irmo Fire Headquarters. Please leave a memo “In Memory of James Muller”.


James “J” Muller, 25, was born November 18, 1997, in Columbia, and passed away on Friday, May 26, 2023. He was the son of Christopher Shawn Muller and Denise Morris Muller.

James was a devoted firefighter to the Irmo Fire Department. He loved the fire service. He used his free time to take classes and further his craft. J also loved to spend time with his family and son, Cole.

He is survived by his wife, Emma Bouyea Muller; son, Cole; parents; sister, Ambree Muller; sister-in-law, Megan Widener and Mary Bouyea.

Funeral services were held at 2 pm, Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at Riverland Hills Baptist Church with a private interment afterwards. The family received friends after the service.

Memorials may be made to the Irmo Fire Foundation.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.caughmanlexington.com for the Muller family.