Government and Human Resources

Vehicle fatally strikes fire chief

June 15, 2017
| By AP |
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A fire chief in the region has died after he was struck by an out-of-control vehicle as he responded to another crash.

Comstock Township Chief Edward Switalski was pronounced dead at the scene after the crash along Interstate 94 on Wednesday night.

The driver who struck him was taken to a hospital with injuries.

The Kalamazoo County sheriff's department said its officers and the Comstock Township fire department were preparing to leave the site of the initial crash when the passing vehicle lost control and struck Switalski as he stood near the rear of his rescue vehicle.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

No injuries were reported related to the initial call that brought Switalski to the scene.

Area fire chiefs met today and worked out how to cover the Comstock Township department's area, so firefighters can take time off in the wake of their chief's death, according to the president of the Kalamazoo County Fire Chiefs Association, Mark Barnes.

"He was the guy who would step up for somebody else in this situation," Barnes said.

Switalski, 55, had reportedly served as chief of Comstock Township Fire & Rescue since 2013. He came to the Michigan department after more than three decades working with the Pleasantview Fire District in suburban Chicago.

Switalski is survived by his wife, Holly, and two daughters, Barnes said.

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