A village in southwest Michigan is mourning the loss of a volunteer firefighter after he was killed by a downed power line during an ice storm earlier this week.
The Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Department said on Facebook crews responded to a fire involving a tree branch on a power line in the Almena Township around 5:44 p.m. Wednesday. First responders across the state were working similar calls caused by ice and freezing rain.
While firefighters were securing the scene, a tree branch fell, bringing down the power line – striking 28-year-old Lt. Ethan Quillen.
Multiple agencies at the location rendered aid to Quillen before transporting him to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where he died. He leaves behind his wife and their young daughter.
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The department said Quillen served with PPVFD since Sept. 19, 2019. He was described as a "selfless, kind, loving, hardworking" man who love his country and his community.
"We would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Ethan's family, his friends, his fellow firefighters, dispatchers, and all the other emergency responders that are suffering from this tragic loss," the department wrote in a statement.
As of Saturday morning, a GoFundMe account created by the department for Quillen's wife had raised over $96,500. Sporty's Pub & Veranda Grille, a local business, also said it would have a tribute jar out all weekend benefiting Quillen's wife, adding that 10% of sales on Friday and Saturday would be included in the jar.
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According to FOX 17 West Michigan, Quillen worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation. He was also a Marine veteran.
Paw Paw Fire Chief Jim DeGroff spoke highly of the fallen firefighter during an interview with FOX 17 on Friday and reminisced on last September when he was promoted to lieutenant for engine 1201 – the main engine that responds to all calls in the village.
"We take nothing for granted. Ethan didn’t want anything the other night when he was working on that scene. He literally gave his life. I just want Ethan and his family to know I will not let them down," DeGroff said, adding that Quillen never let him down.
Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced on Saturday.