AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) –  We now know that Sgt. Greg Meagher bravely went inside Xytex Corp. because of his large size.

Sheriff Roundtree said during his press conference that Meagher was hoping he could safely navigate his way to the employee who was trapped inside and pull her out safely.

“A daughter has lost a father. A mother has lost a son. A community has lost a guardian and I have lost a friend,” Sheriff Roundtree said.

In an act of heroism, 57-year-old Sgt. Meagher ran into a local sperm bank to save a life. Meagher, a patrol sergeant with Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, arrived at Xytex Corp. Sunday with other deputies after a burglar alarm went off. Meagher and the other deputies followed employee Anita Wylds inside after seeing a vapor escape under the door.  They quickly left out of the smoke filled room.

“Sgt. Meagher then donned a jacked to reenter the building. He advised the other deputies to remain outside. He reentered the building in an attempt to locate the key holder who did not return,” he explained.

Deputies waited several minutes, but their sergeant never returned.

Augusta Fire Department arrived shortly after with Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses and found Meagher unresponsive. The department later reported it responded to a liquid nitrogen leak and large tanks of the chemical can be seen at the sperm bank.

Wylds was exposed to a chemical too, but survived due to ventilation nearby.

“It could have been potentially more dangerous, but she felt the need that she had to get in and shut off the valve,” Roundtree said.

Meagher is being remembered as a hero for sacrificing himself to save someone else.

“Sgt. Meagher gave over 30 years to this community. He and I were on SWAT together. He and I went on patrols together. He was extremely well liked by every person that he came in contact with,” he said.

Sheriff Roundtree added that while the death of a fellow man in blue will take time to heal, the incident does not signal the need for SCBAs.

“I don’t think this one incident will trigger that because again, because the only reason the deputies in the case entered the scene is because the key holder went in and did not return. Other than that, they were waiting for fire personnel to arrive,” he said.

Meagher’s body is in Atlanta now. He will be transported back to Augusta soon and King’s Funeral Home will be taking care of the arrangements. Once those are complete, we will let you know.Photojournalist: Gary Hipps