‘Austin would still be here:’ Father discusses Apopka firefighter’s death, investigation

Austin Duran died in July after injury on the job

APOPKA, Fla. – Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson addressed internal and external investigations into the death of firefighter Austin Duran at a news briefing on Wednesday.

Duran, 25, died in July, weeks after being injured on the job with the Apopka Fire Department. Apopka Fire Chief Sean Wylam told News 6 in July that Duran was hurt at Fire Station 1 while trying to move a sand trailer, which is used for hazards such as liquid and gas spills.

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider]

The conference was held in front of Apopka’s City Hall at 5 p.m. During the address, Nelson said that following an investigation into Duran’s death, only one violation by the fire department was discovered: a lack of training for the sand trailer.

Nelson added that the trailer should have never been in service, as it had already been in service for more than 20 years. However, no details were provided about why the trailer was still in use.

Austin Duran’s father — Michael Duran — said that a lack of training was a critical factor in his son’s death.

“If (Austin Duran) had training, absolutely, Austin would still be here today,” Michael Duran said. “There is absolutely zero question: he would be here.”

An article published Thursday by The Apopka Voice cites written statements by Apopka fire Lieutenant Alex Klepper, who reportedly resigned from the AFD Safety Committee after claiming to have encountered pushback from others in his efforts to complete a post-incident critique.

In a Facebook post Monday, Klepper shared news coverage of his resignation from the committee, adding “This has been the hardest, most mentally/physically draining, and thankless year of my entire career.”

Apopka Fire District Chief Gerald Maynard, chairman of the committee, responded to Klepper, providing a statement to The Apopka Voice in which he accepted the lieutenant’s resignation and expressed his surprise.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.