It is the Mission of the Nebraska Response Team to provide recommendations to help a department distinguish the type of honors which should be … Read More
To Report a Line of Duty Death Call: 866-736-5868
WELCOME TO NEBRASKA SERIOUS INJURY & LINE OF DUTY DEATH RESPONSE TEAM
Farnam Fire Benefit
Every single fireman in the area spent the day doing what they normally do. That’s how volunteer fire fighters work. They have an entire life that is planned, set out, scheduled. And they also carry a pager that has the ability to destroy every plan, appointment and intention for the day. On Thursday, April 7, 2022, when every one started their day, they planned for “normal”. But every one also knew that conditions were right for things to go south quickly. It’s been a very dry year. Winds were blowing. Any small spark was going to become a monster fire. We’ve already had a couple grass fires this year. When the pager went off, every fireman, farmer and long-time resident knew this was not a good situation.
Even though the fire wasn’t in our district, the fire crews loaded up without hesitation. They were going to help. There was never any question. And when our district asks for help, we know that others will come to our aid. They won’t ask why. They won’t worry or negotiate some type of pay back. That’s how the network of departments work. That is how Nebraska works. When the call comes out, we go help.
When Unit 3 left the Farnam Fire Hall, there was never any thought of the three volunteers not coming home that night. No one ever expected a roll over accident would send one of our guys to the hospital for weeks. Travis Metzler didn’t consider how significantly his life would change. He just went to help.
Fire Chief, Rod Klein, and long-time volunteer, Calvin Krepcik, were in the grass rig, navigating their way through rough pasture land to help spray hot spots, work on fire lines and try to control the blaze. Travis was in the back of the rig, working the equipment to get water from the tank in the bed out to the burning pasture. When the back end of the three -quarter ton pickup started to shift due to a hole in the ground, Travis knew that the weight of the water and equipment was going to adjust the pick up’s center of gravity and a roll over was coming. He jumped out of the back of the pickup. While the details of the event are a little uncertain, we know that the truck rolled over at least twice. Rod and Calvin inside the cab had minor injuries and Travis had multiple broken bones.
Firemen from the Lexington Volunteer Fire Department were not far behind the Farnam rig when it rolled, but the smoke was so thick in the area that they didn’t see the actual roll over. As they got closer and saw the aftermath, they jumped to help, checking on all three Farnam fire men. After it was determined that Rod and Calvin were okay and that Travis had a broken leg, they rigged a make shift stretcher out of two spades and some bunker gear, loaded Travis into another vehicle and drove him to meet the ambulance. Gosper County EMS took Travis to Lexington Regional Health Center where he was evaluated and transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney.
After multiple surgeries repairing fractures in his hand and leg, as well as diagnosing other broken bones throughout his body, Travis is recovering slowly, but well. He is still looking at an extended hospital stay, an extensive rehabilitation plan and then trying to figure out how he will be affected long-term from this accident.
A brunch benefit has been organized by volunteers in Farnam to help cover costs for the Metzler family as a result of this accident. While insurance will cover certain costs, his wife Brenda has incurred costs while staying with him, there will be costs to adjust their house to make it livable for Travis in the short term, as well as numerous other things that add up quickly.
As we look back at the fire, now knowing that it took one life, left one person in critical condition and severely injured another, ravaged the landscape and ripped apart people’s dreams, we can be grateful it wasn’t worse, sad that it was that bad, worried about when this type of fire will come back. Every Nebraska resident can rest easy knowing that, despite the tragedies of this fire, next time the pager goes off, our volunteers will stop what they are doing, put their personal lives on hold and answer the call.
Two vehicles responding to a fire southeast of Elwood were involved in the crash at about 5:10 p.m. A truck hauling water struck the other vehicle head-on, which was a Ford Expedition driven by Phelps County Emergency Manager Justin Norris, 40.
Fire and smoke created zero-visibility conditions on the roadway at the time of the crash.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, at Our Redeemer LCMS in Elwood with Pastor Aaron Witt officiating.
Visitation will be held 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Our Redeemer LCMS, with family present. Burial will be in the Hanover Cemetery near Glenvil.
He is survived by his wife Cheryl of Elwood; children Christina and Christopher Davison of Bertrand, Roxann and Brad Bieck of Aurora and grandchildren, Clayton, Amber, Tristen, Skeet, Briley, Rhett, Brek, and Piper.
****LEVEL 1 FUNERAL- CHIEF DARREN KRULL, ELWOOD****
TO HONOR WITH DIGNITY... When a line of duty death occurs, and on request of the agency sustaining the loss, the team would be deployed immediately. The team serves in a behind the scene capacity and offers suggestions based on what the departments needs are, as well as, the needs of the firefighter family. The Response team stays in place at the agency, sometimes for several days, usually until the funeral services are completed. The duties of the team do not end there, they provide information to the department on an as needed basis to assist the family and department beyond the funeral services. The team will respond with resources that can provide the items for a firefighters funeral. Departments will not be burdened to acquire these items, as they will be provided for the departments use. A funeral service guide has been established to assist the family and department in choosing options to fit the services they desire. Funeral ceremony protocols are provided for use if desired as well. Our team utilizes the incident command system and has pre determined duties assigned to the sector officers. Once again, our team members serve in a behind the scene capacity, leaving the members of the stricken department as the "front" people for the services.
Why Should I Call?
Did you know that under some circumstances, heart attacks and strokes that occur within 24 hours of a strenuous duty related event may qualify for Federal benefits. Currently this Federal benefit is over $350,000.00. We know of departments that did not consider this, and this benefit was not available to the family of the deceased. These are just some of the items we can provide to you. All of our services are provided to you AT NO COST! If you have any questions as to even the most remote possibility someone may qualify, please contact us immediately.