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Incident Name: Unknown
Date: injured 04/11/06, 1627 hrs; died April 11, 2006
Personnel: Thomas James “Emmett” Kuehl
Age: 38
Agency/Organization: Elkton Volunteer Fire Department
Position: Firefighter/EMT

Summary: On April 8, 2006 Firefighter/EMT Kuehl and the members of his fire department were dispatched to a controlled burn that had gone out of control. The incident was located approximately 10 miles outside of the city. During the fire fight, two fire apparatus became stuck in a field. Firefighter/EMT Kuehl was at the wheel of one of the trucks as it was being pulled by a tractor. The tow rope disengaged from the tractor and the tension in the rope caused it to recoil toward the fire apparatus operated by Firefighter/EMT Kuehl. Firefighter/EMT Kuehl was struck in the forehead area by a shackle attached to the tow rope. Emergency responders were called to the scene and treatment was provided to Firefighter/EMT Kuehl. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and subsequently transferred by medical helicopter to a regional care facility. Firefighter/EMT Kuehl had sustained a severe head injury and died on April 11, 2006.

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Thomas J. Emmett Kuehl - Elkton Fire Department
From Fire Fighting News: Link to Online Article
Written by Staff

United States (South Dakota) - On 04/08/06 at approximately 1600hrs, the Elkton Fire Department was summoned to a controlled burn that had escaped its boundaries and appeared to be threatening neighboring property.

During the firefighting activities, the truck Firefighter Kuehl was driving became stuck. A tractor was obtained in an effort to assist in getting the truck unstuck. A clevis attached to the tractor broke and the tow rope recoiled through the truck's windshield and struck Firefighter Kuehl's head.

Firefighter Kuehl was taken by ambulance to a Brookings, SD Hospital and then airlifted to Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. Kuehl died of the injuries he received on 04/11/2006.

Elkton Fire Department
PO Box 309
109 Elk Street
Elkton, South Dakota 57026


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