Community holds fundraiser for Apopka firefighter who died after work injury

Austin Duran, 25, died on Friday

APOPKA, Fla. – The Apopka community held a fundraiser for the family of a firefighter who died after suffering significant injuries on the job.

The benefit fundraiser was held at Kasheta Farms in Apopka on Sunday.

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Kasheta Farms has been raising funds for the family of Austin Duran, 25, who died on Friday after being hospitalized for weeks due to a significant work-related injury. Everyone who knew Duran said he was a good man, a fighter, and a hero who died way too soon. Even complete strangers wrapped their arms around his family.

“They all kind of say the same thing,” said Caitlin Kasheta, founder of Kasheta Farms. “Oh, he had a good disposition, he had the perfect attitude for being a firefighter and being in a high stress job. He never got angry.”

Twenty-five year old Apopka firefighter succumbed to injuries sustained in June

Through fundraisers and social media posts, the public outpouring of support for Duran’s family has continued for weeks.

Following the incident, Apopka Fire Chief Sean Wylam said Duran was working near a secondary garage and trying to move a sand trailer when he was hurt. The trailer is used for hazards like gas spills and liquid spills.

“He was just a perfect example of what type of person we look for in working with the fire department, we all care about this community and he certainly deserves that as well,” Wylam said.

In a GoFundMe update made on Saturday, Duran’s sister wrote, “Yesterday was a bad day for our family ... Austin fought this fight like a warrior, like a hero.” An update on GoFundMe before Saturday’s said, “Austin’s lungs are having a hard time healing themselves. He caught pneumonia and his lungs are very damaged still from the accident. He is highly sedated and expected to be on the ventilator longer than we initially thought.”

At last check, the GoFundMe account organized by his family has raised nearly $80,000. Duran was employed by Apopka fire since July 2020.

The Apopka Professional Firefighters Association described Duran as “a kind, gentle, humble kid.”

“Austin was everyone’s favorite brother and he will prove to be our department’s future savior. His sacrifice binds together all of us left, in the wake of his passing, to our commitment of being a Fire Department worthy of a hero like Austin having called us his home,” the association wrote.

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About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.