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Wash. Fire Chief Killed in Rollover
Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, Wash. ..Chet Bauermeister, the chief of North Franklin Fire District 4 in Basin City, died Wednesday afternoon while fighting a fire. Fire District 4 was among fire agencies that responded to a wildland fire in Adams County near the border with Franklin County in the Wahluke Slope area of the Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Bauermeister was killed when an ATV he was on flipped over backward on a steep slope, said Pasco Fire Chief Bob Gear. Another firefighter was riding with Bauermeister. He was taken to a hospital, apparently with minor injuries, said Sgt. Jim Dickenson of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. Officials with Adams Fire District 5, the lead agency on the fire, were reported to be still at the scene of the accident at 9 p.m. and few details were available. The fire was out Wednesday evening. The Washington state Department of Natural Resources is expected to investigate the cause of the fire, which was on private land. Firefighters from Hanford and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also helped fight the fire to prevent it from spreading to the wildlife refuge. Bauermeister was the third chief for Fire District 4, taking over the job from his dad, Don Bauermeister, the district's second chief, near the end of 2003. "It's pretty tough right now," said Lonnie Voelz, a former Fire District 4 commissioner, Wednesday evening. "He's going to be missed." Bauermeister also drove the ambulance in Basin City, Dickenson said. "He's going to be missed not only for his friendship with many in the sheriff's office, but also as an EMT," Dickenson said. "His are going to be big shoes to fill." Bauermeister had been doing a good job with Fire District 4, said Franklin County Commissioner Bob Koch, who also is the former fire chief for Connell and for Franklin Fire District 1. Bauermeister had initiated new training and was working to update standards for the fire department, Koch said. Bauermeister was in his mid 40s and owned Chet Bauermeister Trucking in Mesa. McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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