Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The morning of January 8, Nathan Raugh and his three children died in a house fire in McCormick County, northwest of Augusta.
For 4-year-old James, the oldest of the three children, his dream was to become a firefighter.
To fulfill James's dream, his family started a hashtag in his honor. In just hours, firefighters around the world put him "on duty", including in Columbia.
When 4-year-old James Raugh heard the siren from a fire engine, it was heaven.
"He just loved the lights and sirens," said his uncle, T.J. Johnson. "Any time he'd come to the house, even if I didn't have a call, he wanted to turn these red lights and stuff on in my truck."
Johnson, carries gear small enough for his smallest firefighter in his truck, right next to his own.
"He was four years old and he already knew he was going to be a firefighter just like his uncle," said Johnson.
The day after the deadly fire claimed the life of James, his baby sisters Jalissa, 3, Jordan, 1, and his dad Nathan, the family had a request. They asked any fire department to send James "on duty" before he is laid to rest Friday, and then share a photo to social media using the #JRaughOnDuty.
The response was overwhelming.
"I probably have 500 photos on my phone of firetrucks, or fire helmets, not even in the U.S., but in Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia," said Johnson. "It's everywhere."
The Columbia Fire Department was one of hundreds of departments to answer the call.
"We couldn't think of anything better here at the Columbia Fire Department than support him and let him ride with us, let him be on duty with us," said Captain Brick Lewis, Public Information Officer of the Columbia Fire Department.
"J. Raugh" is on helmets, on the truck, and on the department's shift roster.
"It's about James today, tomorrow and yesterday," said Lewis. "We want to keep his memory alive for his family's sake, his friends and for the fire service that had to respond to that call."
Johnson tells us firefighters are born with a flame in their hearts and that's something that never goes away, even if you're an honorary member.
"Just keep the word going and keep him on duty," he said.
The family says the support keeps them smiling, and they say firefighters from all over plan to attend the Raugh family funeral to pay respects.
The funeral is set for Friday at 11 a.m. at Restoration Ministries in Greenwood.
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