Wisconsin Fire Chief Dies at Scene of Blaze

A Wisconsin fire chief suffered a fatal heart attack and died at the scene of a grass fire Sunday.

Chief Edward Weber, 56, served the Elkhart Lake Fire Department for over 30 years.

The department was responding to their third call of the day, a grass fire that was threatening nearby new homes, when Weber was stricken, said Secretary/Treasurer John Reiss.

"We got out to the fire scene and Ed was getting everything coordinated," Reiss said. "All of a sudden he said he didn't feel good. The next thing you know he was down on the ground. It was that quick."

Sunday was an especially busy day for the department, which usually runs about 60 calls each year. "He was running pretty ragged. He was working to put the fire out with the other guys," Reiss said.

A police officer on the scene called out for help as soon as Weber went down. All of Elkhart Lake's medically trained personnel were at another fire scene. But the Ada Fire Department, which was responding on mutual aid, had a first responder and an EMT present, who immediately began CPR and used a defibrillator until an ambulance transported Weber to the hospital. "They just couldn't revive him," Reiss said.

Weber lived across the street from the fire station and was always there, Reiss said. He also has a brother in the department.

"It was devastating to the guys in the fire department," Reiss said. "He was a great guy, well-liked in the fire department. He was fair and honest with everybody. He'll be surely missed."

Weber is survived by his wife, three daughters, a son and grandchildren. He was a maintenance worker, and he and his wife ran and maintained Fireman's Park on the beach, Reiss said.

The viewing will take place on Wednesday, April 16 at 3 p.m. at the Catholic Church in Elkhart Lake, and on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The service will follow at the church at 10:30, and the burial will take place at the cemetery on Highway FF.

The Elkhart Lake Fire Department has about 40 members, all volunteer, and serves the village of Elkhart Lake and the town of Rhine in a large rural area. This is the department's first line-of-duty death. The department is now operating under Acting Chief Robert Schmitt.