Heart Attack Claims Nebraska Volunteer after House Fire

AXTELL, Neb.-- A veteran Axtell firefighter and business operator died today after responding to an early morning house fire.

Leo Soderquist, 64, of Axtell died of a heart attack after helping with a fire at 1823 25th Road, according to Axtell Fire Chief Kym Rush. Soderquist suffered the heart attack at the fire hall at about 2 a.m. He was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, where he died.

Soderquist had served Axtell Fire and Rescue for 36 years and owned Soderquist Cabinets in Axtell.

Axtell Fire and Rescue responded to the call a little after midnight. Kearney County Sheriff Woody Woodgate was driving by when he noticed smoke, Rush said. Woodgate woke up owners Alan and Connie Huntley and evacuated them from the home.

The fire started with a junction box over a ceiling fan in the attic. Extra electrical heaters were the cause of the overload. Extensive damage, estimated at close to $10,000, was done to the attic and the living room.

Firefighters returned to the Huntley home at about 8:30 a.m. today after the fire rekindled. Crews were still on the scene at press time.

Copyright 2006 by the Kearney Hub.

Republished with permission of the Kearney Hub.

Funeral Information

Visitation will be held Sunday, Dec. 3 from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. at Freeland-Craig Funeral Home in Axtell, Neb.

Services will be held Monday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church south of Axtell with the Rev. David Evenson officiating.

Burial will be at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Axtell.