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Bon Homme agencies honor 4-year-old who died in house fire

The Bon Homme County Sheriff's Office and Tyndall Fire Department are honoring a 4-year-old who died in a South Carolina house fire by taking him "on duty" with their departments this week. (Submitted photo)

BON HOMME COUNTY — The impact of a South Carolina tragedy has spread all the way to South Dakota.

On Jan. 8, 4-year-old James Raugh, his two young siblings and father died in a house fire in McCormick, South Carolina. The death dashed Raugh's dream of someday becoming a firefighter, but prompted his family to create a national campaign to send the 4-year-old "on duty" with as many fire and police departments as possible. They're able to see where Raugh is being honored by following the hashtag #JRaughOnDuty on social media sites.

According to local media, the members of the Raugh family died in their sleep of smoke inhalation.

The Bon Homme County Sheriff's Office and Tyndall Fire Department are two departments Raugh is part of this week, thanks to an effort by Brian McGuire.

"I thought it was kind of neat, and what better way to honor someone than something like this?" McGuire said Friday.

Like hundreds of departments across the country, the Bon Homme County Sheriff's Office and Tyndall Fire Department created labels reading "J. Raugh" to stick to the deputies' uniforms and dedicated a set of fire equipment to the boy, making him an honorary member of both agencies.

McGuire said he learned of the initiative on social media, and felt compelled to participate.

He plans to leave the emblems on his police vest and fire equipment for a few days to honor Raugh, he said.

"It's a sad story, but I'm glad we can be part of it to make it a little better," he said.

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