A volunteer firefighter died Wednesday, Feb. 22, after a live power line hit him during an ice storm in Michigan, officials say.
Lt. Ethan Quillen of the Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Department was responding to a call Wednesday night about a fallen tree on a power line, Michigan State Police Special Lieutenant DuWayne Robinson said at a news conference.
As the power line was being manipulated, a separate tree broke and brought down another high-voltage line, Fire Chief Jim DeGroff IV said. The live hit the 28-year-old firefighter.
Quillen was rushed to a hospital, where he died, the US Fire Administration said. His cause of death is listed as electrocution.
The death is being investigated as an accident, Robinson said. DeGroff called it “absolutely not Ethan’s fault, or anyone’s.”
“He offered his time here for free. She gave her life for free,” DeGroff said during the WOOD news conference.
Quillen has been described in a GoFundMe as a “beloved husband, father, son, friend, Marine, and dedicated firefighter.”
“Ethan was selfless, kind, loving, hard working and so much more,” the firefighters said in GoFundMe.
Consumers Energy said in a statement to WWMT it was conducting an “international investigation” into the power line that collapsed. The winter storm caused more than 5,000 downed cables across Michigan, the company said.
The Paw Paw Fire Department is one of the few in the state that depends solely on volunteers, according to its website.
“The group of people who are here, the men and women who serve on this fire department, love their community,” DeGroff said. “We are so lucky to have the people that we have and they don’t want anything in return. Their satisfaction is helping another family and helping wherever we can.
State leaders called Quillen’s death a “tragedy” and “heartbreaking.” State Senator Gary Peters said Quillen “was a hero who selflessly put himself in danger.”
Paw Paw is approximately 65 miles south of Grand Rapids.
Teenage girl electrocuted after touching downed power line she mistook for a cane, MI police say
Lineman’s daughter FaceTimed before she was killed while cleaning up storm debris, the GA family says
24-year-old father of 2 electrocuted in work accident, WV police say. ‘Very Special Man’