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NYC firefighter killed by tree limb at Biltmore Estate

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ASHEVILLE — A New York City firefighter was killed when a tree limb fell onto the vehicle he was driving at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, officials said.

The limb fell across a road Friday at the entrance to the estate amid high winds and struck a guest's vehicle, Biltmore spokesperson Marissa Jamison said in an email.

Buncombe County emergency medical services and Asheville fire responded with the assistance of Biltmore teams. Three adults and one child were in the vehicle, and one adult's injuries were fatal, Jamison said. An investigation is underway, she said.

Asheville fire spokesperson Kelley Klope said the driver died before firefighters arrived, the Citizen Times reported.

Casey Skudin would have turned 46 on Sunday, Fire Department of New York spokesperson Jim Long told the newspaper.

Skudin had 16 years of service and worked in the Rockaway area of Queens with Ladder 137, Long said. Skudin was married to Angela Skudin and had two children, he said.

Skudin was also a rescue surfer and lifeguard and was awarded the Fire Chiefs Association Memorial Medal in 2010 for his bravery in diving into the frigid ocean during a 2009 storm to help rescue a surfer trapped underwater by his surfboard leash, Long said.

The 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate features tours of the country's largest private residence, the Biltmore House, which was built in 1895 and attracts about 1.4 million people a year.

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