MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Family and friends gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of a 25-year-old man who died while saving his friends.

Adam Briesmeister’s home, which he shared with friends, caught fire early Wednesday morning. He died after breathing in too much smoke while saving the lives of his roommates.

Ana Witek, a friend of Briesmeister’s, attended Saturday’s gathering at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. She says Briesmeister had an infectious smile.

“He just oozed joy,” she said.

Briesmeister was an actor, an activist and a substitute teacher; and he was loved by many. Witek knew Briesmeister through acting. Others at the gathering were Briesmeister’s students or fellow activist. And although their stories about him were different, their experience was the same.

“It’s difficult to find someone who was involved in every aspect of his life, because there were so many things that he was involved in,” Witek said.

Briesmeister’s father, Wayne Briesemeister, said he is most proud of his son’s consistent integrity.

“He was kind and gentle and caring to everyone that he touched,” Wayne Briesemeister said.

Briesemeister’s caring for others reached its final and most selfless level Wednesday morning, when his house went up in flames.

“Some people have written me and said: You couldn’t script a better ending for an actor’s life,” Wayne Briesemeister said.

Wayne Briesemeister said he is touched by the outpouring of support.

“We’ll get over the tragedy,” he said. “We won’t get over the heroism.”

Briesemeister was from Wisconsin, but had lived in Minneapolis for the past three years.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what started the fire.

Comments (6)
  1. With the Lord says:

    Its very sad that we lost a man who gave so much back, to society. God bless him, and his family.

  2. Kelly Fong says:

    Adam was amazing man.. I have known him since high school and im so sorry that this happened.

  3. Tom says:

    Wow, this story, really blew me away! Such a lost, not only to family and friends..but to the community that this man lived. Truely, a man that had so much to offer and also a “hero” as well…may we all reflect on how we can respect the people like Adam,in our lives!! 🙂 Respect and love ~

  4. sar says:

    One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.

  5. Michelle Gross says:

    Thank you, Reg, for a respectful story about a wonderful, heroic man. I’ll always remember Adam as someone who was both so joyful and so sensible that he could work with anyone, including people with beliefs far from his. In his short life, he impacted so many people and will truly be missed.

  6. Brett says:

    Some hero. Did he ever serve a day in a “uniform”? I guess not. I do know that he waa among the “occupiers”, and wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he was among the 2008 RNC anarchists who terrorized St. Paul. Yeah, he saved some of “his” friends, but I don’t think that he did too many of the rest of us any big favors.

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