PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — A volunteer Paw Paw firefighter was killed by a downed power line Wednesday, Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott said.
It happened around 5:45 p.m. in the 42000 block of 30th Street near 42nd Avenue in Almena Township, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
“On behalf of the Paw Paw Fire Department, it is with a heavy heart that they lost one of their own tonight on a tragic incident, no fault of the Fire Fighter,” the sheriff’s office said. “The Department is asking at this time that you give them time to deal with this tragedy, and at a later date and time more information will be available. They would also ask that you respect the family, friends, and fellow firefighters during this time while they are mourning the loss. Please keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers at this time. Thank you for respecting their wishes.”
An ice storm hitting West Michigan Wednesday led to several downed trees and some downed power lines. It is not clear which provider the power line belonged to, but Consumers Energy in a statement said it was investigating.
“We were deeply saddened to learn of this firefighter’s passing. Extreme weather events like this are difficult for numerous reasons, but few are more important than the risk many first responders and line workers take with their lives in service of their community,” Consumers Energy said. “Our internal investigation process has begun, and we are continuing to prioritize the safety of our customers, our crews, and local partners like police and fire units as we work to mitigate dangers and restore power. Our hearts go out to their family.”
Michigan fire departments offered their condolences Wednesday night.
“Tonight, we kneel for his family and his brothers and sisters who worked with him. Tomorrow we will stand for him,” Dowagiac Fire Department wrote on Facebook. “Please keep our brothers and sisters at the Paw Paw Fire Department in your thoughts. We are here if you need anything.”
“Thoughts and prayers to the Paw Paw Fire Department who lost a firefighter tonight during an emergency incident during the ice storm,” Mayville Fire Department wrote.
Mattawan Police Department also gave its condolences.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Paw Paw Fire Department who lost a Firefighter tonight,” Mattawan Police Department said.