|Agency||Pecatonica Fire Protection District- Seward Unit|
|Type of Firefighter||Volunteer|
|Age Range||36 to 40|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||1/13/1996|
|Cause of Death||Contact/Exposure|
|Nature of Death||Asphyxiation|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Hazardous materials response , SCBA operations , Search and rescue operations|
On January 13, 1996, Chief Dale Zimmerman of the Pecatonica Fire Protection District- Seward Unit died in the line of duty after he was overcome by carbon monoxide during a grain bin rescue.
A fire started in the 500,000-bushel corn bin in early December 1995, but the local water supply and fire extinguishing chemicals were both inadequate for extinguishing the flames. After the fire burned for several weeks, outside contractors were hired to evacuate the corn from the bin using huge vacuum hoses.
On January 13, Zimmerman and other firefighters responded to the grain bin after two contractors were overcome by fumes inside the bin. As the only entrance to the bin was at the top, Zimmerman climbed the bin’s exterior ladder and then descended into the bin using the interior ladder. Zimmerman helped rescue the trapped contractors, but he was soon overcome by carbon monoxide. He died shortly thereafter from asphyxiation.
Dirk Johnson, “Two-Month-Old Fire Besieges a Little Town,” New York Times, February 7, 1996.