Minn. volunteer firefighter dies on storm watch duty

Blomkest Firefighter Ryan Leif Erickson was in his vehicle when winds knocked a grain bin onto it

Duty Death: Ryan Leif Erickson - [Blomkest, Minnesota]

End of Service: 05/12/2022

By Leila Merrill

BLOMKEST, Minn. — A volunteer firefighter was killed Thursday evening near Blomkest when high winds knocked a grain bin over onto his car, killing him.

Ryan Leif Erickson, 63, was on storm watch duty on his property at the time, CBS Minnesota reported.

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office announced in a news release Friday morning that it had responded to a report of a missing man and that a group of first responders found the deceased man. The Blomkest Fire Department, Lake Lillian Ambulance, Willmar Fire Department, Kandiyohi County Rescue Squad, Kandiyohi County Emergency Management and the Atwater Police Department assisted.

Later in the day, the sheriff’s office identified the man as Erickson.

He became a volunteer firefighter at the age of 18 and had served as chief for about five years, the West Central Tribune reported.

“He was very well-known because he took part in a lot of stuff. If there was something you needed a volunteer for, he was one of the first to volunteer,” said Blomkest City Clerk Barbara Gilberts, who told the Tribune that Erickson was a township board member and part of the rural electric board. “He was a promoter of small-town life. He loved his town, and he was involved.”

Erickson is survived by his wife, two daughters and four grandchildren.

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