Ohio firefighter-EMT dies while trying to help car crash victims

Firefighter-EMT Brett Wilson, 23, was killed after coming in contact with downed power lines

By FireRescue1 Staff

COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A crash that killed two people, including a firefighter-EMT, is under investigation. 

Cleveland19.com reported that Columbia Fire Department firefighter-EMT Brett Wilson heard a crash at 2:55 a.m. on Sunday and ran toward the scene to help. 

Firefighter-EMT Brett Wilson, 23, heard the crash and went to help.
Firefighter-EMT Brett Wilson, 23, heard the crash and went to help. (Photo/Columbia Township, Columbia Station Information Page Facebook)

On scene, the driver, Keith Liedtke, and passenger Brent Reizler exited their car after the vehicle had gone off the road and struck a utility pole. Liedtke and Reizler came in contact with downed power lines and were electrocuted, according to the report. 

Firefighter-EMT Brett Wilson, 23, and another witness, Hannah Gallagher, heard the crash and went to help. Both Wilson and Gallagher also came in contact with the power lines. 

Officials said Wilson and Reizler both died as a result of injuries suffered by coming in contact with the downed lines. Liedtke and Gallagher were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. 

The Columbia Township, Columbia Station Information Page posted a tribute to Wilson on Facebook. 

"It is with a heavy heart that we post this. Last night, our township suffered a great loss," the post said.

Columbia Township Fire Chief Raymond Anthony said the department may never know exactly what happened.

"We do what we call a scene size up, you try and look at everything," Chief Anthony said. "It could have been a wire on the ground he stepped on, or it could have energized the wet ground and he got caught in that current and it took him down."

Chief Anthony said Wilson's goal was to become a full-time member and was finishing his paramedic training.

"He was an energetic kid and his goal in life was to be a career firefighter," he said. "He just loved helping people."

The investigation is ongoing, but alcohol is suspected to be a factor in the crash.

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