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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Germantown resident and pathologist at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center was among the 34 victims of the dive boat fire off the California coast earlier this week.

Dr. Ted Strom was killed in the boat fire Monday, along with 33 other passengers, officials of the VA and family confirmed Friday. He was a resident of Germantown, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said.

“The leadership and staff of the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center are deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Ted Strom,” Medical Center Director David K. Dunning said. “His exceptional service to Veterans as a staff physician is a testament to the type person that he was. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his family during this time. He will certainly be missed.”

Ted Strom | Photo from family spokesperson

Strom had been with the Memphis VA since January 2009. He was also a member of the Germantown Democratic Club.

“The Strom family wants everyone to know that he passed in a place he cherished while doing something he loved,” a spokesperson for the family said. “During this very difficult time, the family requests complete privacy.”

The dive-boat Conception, far out to sea in the middle of the night, became fully engulfed in flames as 30 passengers on a recreational scuba diving trip slept below deck, AP reported.

Officials determined Friday that the victims in the boat fire died from smoke inhalation and not from the fire itself.