California Assistant Chief Dies From 1996 Injury

A California assistant fire chief died Wednesday as a result of a 1996 injury he suffered in the line of duty.

According to a notice from the U.S. Fire Administration, Assistant Chief Harry Zilkan of the Newberry Springs Fire Department suffered a major heart attack while directing operations at a residential structure fire in 1996.

Zilkan was revived en route to the hospital, but his heart was severely damaged, and left with only 20 percent functionality. A year later, a heart transplant was performed and Zilkan was able to return to limited duties. Recently, the transplanted organ began to fail, leading to his death.

Zilkan, 56, had volunteered with the department for eight years.

A memorial fund has been established in Zilkan's memory. For information or to send a donation, contact the Newberry Springs Fire Department at P.O. Box 6, Newberry Springs, CA 92365.

Fire department officials could not immediately be reached for additional information. Firehouse.Com will post any additional information as it becomes available. The Newberry Springs Fire Department is located in southern California in San Bernardino County, on historic Route 66.