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Fire Dept. Describes Searching For One Of Their Own In Fatal Grain Bin Collapse

BLOMKEST, Minn. (WCCO) — Leaders in a small town in Western Minnesota say a volunteer firefighter killed during last night's storm was instrumental in making their city what it was.

Sixty-three-year-old Ryan Erickson was killed when a grain bin on his family's farm collapsed on his car. The state is considering the loss a line-of-duty death.

On Thursday evening, Ben Vlaminck, the assistant fire chief at the City of Blomkest, says they got a call for a search going on just a couple of miles from the city's downtown. On their way, he says that's when it set in for him and his team that they'd be searching for one of their own.

They were responding to the Erickson family farm, home to Ryan Erickson, who had been with the department for decades.

Erickson, who was 63, was crushed underneath a grain bin and later passed away.

Community members say he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend who was quick to lend a hand in any way he could.

The fire team in Blomkest says for them the reality of the situation is still setting in.

"Chaotic. As far as bringing in all of our resources that we brought in within the county, it was amazing to watch everyone work as a team even though they knew the circumstances of what was going on," Vlaminck said.

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

"He was my go to person if I needed something," said City of Blomkest Mayor Doug Hopp. "If I needed help or anything. He was my go-to person."

"I think of what an impact this is going to have on our lives because he was so very important to our daily activities and the things we did," said Blomkest Clerk Barb Gilberts. "It will be a long adjustment."

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