GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A fire chief died Monday from injuries he sustained in a crash while responding to a fire in July.
Great Falls Tribune reported that Fire Chief Dave Anderson, 66, with the Fort Shaw Volunteer Fire Department, was seriously injured when his water tender collided with a brush truck while responding to a grass fire.
Chief Anderson was initially treated for his injuries at an intensive care unit, but was soon upgraded from critical to serious condition eight days after the crash. He was transferred to a rehabilitation clinic specializing in traumatic brain injuries, but never fully recovered, according to the report.
"I loved the man like he was my dad," Tim Bunker, a Fort Shaw firefighter, said. "Any time we were on a fire or emergency medical service, I always knew that with Dave being in charge I was safe. He always looked out for us. He always took care of his people, and he would never put us in a position that would jeopardize our lives. He was such a great mentor and a great person to learn from. It's a sad day. He was our rock."
Chief Anderson had served as a volunteer firefighter in Fort Shaw for more than 45 years and was chief of that department since before 1982, according to the report.
"I just wish I had 10 more years with him," Bunker said. "He had so much knowledge to give us. He just left us a little bit too soon — but we will carry on and continue his legacy out here with pride. There won't be a call that we go on that we won't think about Dave. If my backside starts hurting, I'll know I've done something wrong, and Dave's right there with me."
A memorial service has been scheduled for Sept. 6 at the Family Living Center at the Montana ExpoPark in Great Falls.