FORADA, Minn. (WCCO) — A well-known firefighter is dead after an assault outside a central Minnesota bar.
Earlier this month, 46-year-old Steven Hlinsky, also known as Beaver, was found bleeding outside the Muddy Boot Bar in Forada. He spent days in the hospital before doctors released him on Friday.
But Sunday, emergency crews found him unresponsive at home.
“He’d be one of the first guys to every scene. He was a good leader, good role model,” said Chief Bob Steidl, Forada Fire.
Of the 30 volunteer firefighters on staff, Steidl called Hlinsky the “heart of the station.” And to his friends he was better known as “Beaver.”
“No matter where you went, you say Steve, they’d look, who? They say Beav, everybodty knew who Beaver was,” Steidl said.
The father of two was a part of the Forada Fire Department for 28 years, winning fireman of the year three times and first responder of the year four times.
But since Hlinsky was found outside the Muddy Boot Bar during the early morning hours of May 5, his family and friends have been searching for answers.
Hlinsky was found lying on the sidewalk bleeding from his nose and ear. He was taken to the hospital where he received treatment for nearly a week.
He was released on Friday, but on Sunday a 911 call came in that Hlinksy was unresponsive at his home. Some of his close friends and firefighters were first on scene.
“It’s news you don’t want to ever hear about anybody, period,” Stephen Van Luik said, assistant chief.
“Especially one of your own. You know, ‘What’s happening? What’s happening?’ And you know where you’re going, what makes it worse. And then the end result really gets to a person,” Steidl said.
As a farmer and fireman, Hlinsky is being remembered as the first guy on the field and the first to a fire. As they mourn his loss, friends are asking anyone who knows anything to come forward.
“He’s going to be very well missed. He was a friend to all of us,” said Van Luik .
If you know anything about the assault outside the Muddy Boot Bar on the night of May 5, you are asked to call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.