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Local

A final farewell to a fallen firefighter – and friend

Thousands expected for Saturday's memorial for Clinton firefighter

Eric Hosette
Eric Hosette

CLINTON, Iowa – Thousands of people are expected to take part in, or view, Saturday’s memorial service and procession for the Clinton firefighter killed last week in a grain bin fire.

Hundreds of firetrucks from across the country, including several from Whiteside and Carroll counties, will take part in the procession for Lt. Eric Hosette, and multiple area agencies will be working with Clinton’s police and fire departments to make sure things go smoothly, the Illinois State Police said in a news release.

On the Illinois side, ambulances and firetrucks from participating agencies will be staged in Fulton, and will cross the bridge into Clinton together, probably sometime between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. That will close that bridge to other traffic for about 10 minutes or so, Master Sgt. Mike Kuehl said.

Among the local fire and other emergency departments planning to participate in the procession are Fulton, Morrison, Prophetstown, Lyndon, Sterling and Rock Falls in Whiteside County, and Milledgeville, Chadwick, and Mount Carroll in Carroll County.

More are signing up by the minute, said Camanche, Iowa, Fire Chief Dave Schutte, who is helping organize the procession.

Hosette died Jan. 5 in an explosion at the Archer Daniels Midland plant that happened as fire crews were fighting a grain storage bin fire at the company’s loading facility; the incident still is under investigation and no further information has been released.

Firefighter and paramedic Adam Cain, 23, was critically injured in the blast, and is being treated at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

On Thursday, some of Hosette’s colleagues remembered the man who was their co-worker and their friend.

Hosette’s Battalion Chief, Joel Atkinson, said “it’s going to be devastating to the fire department to replace Eric.”

“Eric was on my shift,” he said. “He was a get-it-done guy,” especially when trucks needed work.

His mechanical skills also extended to tractors and steam engines, interests that took him to the Mount Pleasant Old Threshers every year. “He was a Case guy,” Atkinson said, and he enjoyed a good prank.

“Eric was a jokester,” Atkinson said, but he also took jokes well. His fellow firefighters used to put John Deere green in Hosette’s locker.

As firefighters prepare for Saturday’s memorial service for Hosette, people continue to ask what they can do for the fire department and their families.

Atkinson suggested that people donate blood in Hosette’s memory or in support of Cain, who has received blood during surgery. Accounts also have been set up for both Hosette and Cain’s families at Clinton National Bank for monetary donations.

Hosette’s visitation is being held from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 Third Ave. S. in Clinton. His public memorial service begins at 11:30 a.m. in Riverview Park, next to the band shell. The procession is set to leave the park at 12:30 p.m., travel through Clinton and head to the Lyons District on the city’s north side before leaving town.

Given the length of the procession, traffic on both Clinton bridges – the bridge from Fulton and the Route 30 Gateway Bridge – may be blocked for several hours.

Drivers in the area are asked “to be prepared and patient for long delays while Lt. Hosette is honored,” the release said.

Officers will be stationed on the Illinois side of both bridges to shut down traffic if needed, the ISP said.

Hosette, 33, of Charlotte, Iowa, joined the Clinton Fire Department on Sept. 17, 2006, and was promoted to lieutenant on Aug. 25. He also was chief of the Charlotte Fire Department.

Among others, he is survived by his wife of 8 years, Kellene “Kelly” Mohr Hosette, formerly of Fulton, and their daughter, Addalyn.

WANT TO HELP?

Accounts have been set up for the families of Lt. Eric Hosette and firefighter and paramedic Cain at Clinton National Bank, 235 Sixth Ave. South, Clinton, IA 52732; call the bank at 563-243-1243 for more information.

DETAILS

The memorial service for Clinton Fire Department Lt. Eric Hosette will take place at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Riverview Park, 500 Riverview Drive, next to the band shell.

Attendants are asked to arrive early and park at designated areas, where they will be bused to the riverfront as 150 to 200 emergency vehicles and around 5,000 people are expected to attend.

A PAINFUL MEMORY REVISITED IN ASHTON

ASHTON – The loss of Clinton firefighter Eric Hosette brings up painful memories for some Sauk Valley residents, who remember clearly the Feb. 17, 2001, deaths of two firefighters.

Lt. Clint Talley and firefighter Michael McKean of the Ashton Fire Protection District died in the line of duty, trapped while fighting a basement fire in this Lee County town.

According to the Illinois Fire Service Institute:

"Firefighters responded to the one-story house fire at around 8:17 a.m., and upon entering the structure, firefighters found thick, brown smoke along the floor. After extinguishing various pockets of flames on the first floor, firefighters realized that the fire was originating from between the basement ceiling and the first floor.

"Firefighting crews entered and exited the basement several times in an attempt to locate and extinguish all of the flames, but the fire spread rapidly, and McKean and Talley became lost and trapped in the basement.

"Firefighters, including mutual aid responders, made numerous attempts to find and rescue McKean and Talley, but both firefighters asphyxiated ... before they could be rescued."

Talley, 27, and McKean, 32, each left behind a wife, Tonya McKean and Lori Talley, and two children, Zion and Adrienn McKean and Kristen and Jamie Talley.

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