Two firefighters killed, others injured in Minnesota crash while en route to fire in Utah

Posted at 2:52 PM, Aug 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-28 17:03:45-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of firefighters based out of Michigan were involved in a fatal crash in Minnesota Saturday, and the firefighting crew was traveling to Utah to assist with the Box Canyon Fire.

According to a statement from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the firefighters were part of the Beartown crew, which is a Type 2 Wildland Firefighting Crew that dispatches locally in Michigan and nationally in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Two of the firefighters were killed and several others were severely injured, according to the statement.

“Our hearts are broken and our prayers are with the family members and those injured,” the statement reads in part. It also indicates the firefighters were on the way to the Box Canyon Fire, which is burning on nearly 4,000 acres in Utah. 

A later update stated that all of the injured firefighters are expected to recover.

WLUC reports the crash occurred in Blaine, Minnesota Saturday around 3 p.m. local time on Interstate 35W and 95th Avenue. According to transportation officials in Minnesota, the truck left the road for an unknown reason and struck the median cable barrier, causing the vehicle to roll.

KARE-TV 11 identified the deceased firefighters as 25-year-old Alan Swartz and 23-year-old James Shelifoe, both of Baraga, Michigan. There were nine people total in the truck, several of whom were injured.