My heart breaks for the Quillen family.

West Michigan's recent ice storm brought plenty of damage Wednesday evening including slide-offs, downed limbs, and power outages. Unfortunately, the storm also proved to be fatal as the Paw Paw Fire Department lost one of its own.

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According to Fox 17, just before 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22, volunteer firefighter Lt. Ethan Quillen was responding to a call regarding trees on fire near 30th street just north of Paw Paw.

That's when a nearby limb fell and hit a powerline, which in turn struck Lt. Quillen who was then rushed to Bronson ER where he was pronounced dead. The Michigan State Police says Quillen did nothing wrong.

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About Lt. Quillen

Sadly Quillen, who was just 28 years old, leaves behind a wife, young daughter, as well as other family members and countless friends.

This unexpected news hit the Allegan community especially hard as Quillen grew up there and graduated from Allegan High School, same as myself. Although Quillen's mother grew up in Allegan, Ethan spent his early years in his father's native Australia.

I remember when the family first moved from Australia to Allegan. Ethan's older sister was in my grade and we quickly became friends. I spent many play dates at the Quillen household and they even let me try their precious Vegemite! Although I only knew Ethan through his sister I remember him fondly.

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30th St. near Red Arrow Highway - Google Maps
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How To Help

With such an unexpected loss the Paw Paw and surrounding communities have been quick to support to the family. A Go Fund Me has been set up by the Paw Paw Fire Department and as of this writing has raised more than $7,000 in one hour.

The fundraiser's description reads,

a beloved husband, father, son, friend, marine, and dedicated firefighter lost his life in the line of duty...Firefighter Ethan Quillen will always be remembered for his endless love for his wife and daughter. For his love for his country and his community...This go fund me is being set up to help support his wife and daughter throughout this unexpected tragedy.

Words of support for Ethan and his family have been shared from all across the country including Michigan Senator Aric Nesbitt, the Nassau County Fire Service Academy in New York, and the St. Paul Fire Department in Virginia.

Local police and fire crews escort Quillen's body from the hospital Wednesday night:

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