Minnesota Chief Killed On Roadside
Assistant Chief of Don Billig of the St. Cloud, Minnesota Fire Department was struck and killed at a roadside incident Monday, October 27.
Billig, 49, was an 18-year veteran of the department's volunteer division.
Billig and his crew responded to a report of a generator smoking at a roadside construction site, reported the USFA. Afterward, while preparing to leave the scene, Billig was replacing a barricade along the construction zone when a pickup truck struck his crew's truck, a heavy duty pickup outfitted to fight grass fires, and then struck Billig, killing him.
"As firefighters were diving out of the way, Don was just not able to get away," said Capt. Richard Wilson of the St. Cloud Police Department. Billig died at the scene.
The driver of the pickup truck, Lorin Richard Pfannenstein, 36, of St. Cloud, fled the scene of the accident on foot and then turned himself in to law enforcement officials the following morning. He is currently under arrest and awaiting arraignment, Wilson said.
Billig is survived by many relatives including his wife Lou Ann, two daughters, two grandchildren, and a son who is also a St. Cloud volunteer firefighter.
Billig made a living doing maintenance work at the local Veteran's Administration Medical Center. "He was dedicated to his profession, the department, his community and his country," Wilson said.
"We're just sorry that this incident occurred," Wilson said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those that he touched. He will be missed by the community and by the emergency services community."
Visitation for Assistant Fire Chief Don Billig will be held at the St. Cloud Civic Center Thursday, 3-9 p.m. Funeral services will be held at St. Mary's Cathedral at 10 a.m., Friday. Burial is at the Assumption Cemetery following a procession of fire trucks and an honor guard.