CAMBRIDGE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A Cambridge firefighter was killed during a training accident Monday night.
City Administrator Lynda Woulfe says 35-year-old Chip Imker was injured in a fall about 9:30 p.m. Monday while training in rope rescue techniques. She says he fell about six to eight feet onto a concrete surface at the fire hall.
Minnesota OSHA is investigating.
Imker joined the fire department last year. On Wednesday, a black ribbon hangs outside the fire department in his memory. Firefighters also placed bouquet of flowers at his locker. Colleagues said Imker served the community in Cambridge in whatever he did – as a volunteer high school wrestling coach, in his own construction business, CAI Construction, or as a member of the Army National Guard and as a volunteer firefighter.
“Some things instilled in us in youth from our parents were excellence and taking pride in what you do,” said his older brother Chad Imker. “He always kept continuing to raise that bar, pushing others to do that as well. Not only that, but his ethics and integrity kept pushing people to do things the right away even if it wasn’t the easiest way.”
Chad Imker says as part of the fire department, his brother found the same sense of stewardship, community and camaraderie as he knew in the military.
He leaves behind his parents, two brothers, spouse and two children, Connor and Hayden, ages 8 and 6.
“They were his boys, daddy’s boys,” said his spouse Kristin Hill. “He did all this other stuff but the kids came first.”
Hill says above all, Imker and his boys shared the same love of the outdoors. Imker was an avid hunter.
“We had a trip planned this weekend for mud trucking, he was getting the truck ready and the kids were getting their stuff packed,” said Hill.
Chad Imker says his brother believed in sacrifice and service, and would easily risk his own life to help others.
“That also speaks to the fact he is an organ donor. His organs are going to other people extend their life or have a better quality of life,” said Chad Imker.
The Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial Association is planning a tribute to Imker.
The Chip Imker Firefighter Memorial Fund has been established in his memory. Donations to the memorial fund can be sent to Minnco Credit Union at 235 1st Ave. W., Cambridge, MN 55008. Checks should be made payable to Kristin Hill.
According to the city of Cambridge, visitation will be held on Friday, May 27 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Hardy Center for the Performing Arts. On Saturday, May 28 visitation will be held at the Cambridge-Isanti High School from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. with funeral services to immediately follow.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)