Firefighter, family man dies when tire explodes

February 8, 2019

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

Clare lost one of its own Monday morning when Firefighter Ethan Gage, 26, was killed in a tire explosion at Fair’s Salvage, his workplace in Isabella County’s Vernon Township.

Lt. Ethan Gage was the Clare Fire Department  Training Officer. Photo by Bob Guiliani

Lt. Ethan Gage was the Clare Fire Department
Training Officer. Photo by Bob Guiliani

According to a release from the Isabella County Sheriff’s Office, Gage was using a tire changing machine on a farm implement around 1:30 p.m. February 4th when the tire suddenly exploded. He suffered traumatic head injuries and died at the scene, Clare Fire Chief Jim Chapman said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Gage, a firefighter with Clare since May of 2012, was a lieutenant and training officer with the department.

Clare Police Chief Brian Gregory posted, “It is with a heavy heart that we grieve the loss of Clare City Firefighter Ethan Gage. He tragically lost his young life in a

Lt. Ethan Gage demonstrates the use of the Jaws of Life Photo by Bob Guiliani

Lt. Ethan Gage demonstrates the use of the Jaws of Life
Photo by Bob Guiliani

work place accident. Ethan was a son, father, husband and dedicated firefighter. He will be remembered and sadly missed. Please keep Ethan’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Ethan started his career and a fireman at the age of 16 when he became a cadet with the Harrison Fire Department, Harrison Chief Chris Damvelt said at the press conference. When he was 18, he completed firefighter’s training courses and became a member of that department for the next two years, before moving to Clare and joining the Clare Fire Department.

Chief Damvelt said, “He was a dedicated young man, give you the shirt off his back kind of guy and I don’t think he ever had a bad word against somebody.

“We are at a loss,” Chief Chapman said. “He leaves a wife and two young daughters, his family and his fire department family to mourn him.”

Ethan Gage

Ethan Gage

Firefighters from Clare, Harrison and other departments met with a “stress debriefing team” at the Clare station Monday evening to mourn and face the loss of “one of their family.”

Chapman, who has been involved with the Clare department most of his life, said his own father was a member of the department for 27 years. “We deal with life and death every day,” he said. “It’s never easy and especially not when it is one of our own.”

He added, “I can honestly say I always wished I could be more like Ethan. He was a dedicated firefighter, a totally upright fellow, and a Christian.”

Gage was a member of the Thrive Church of Mt. Pleasant.

Clare Mayor Pat Humphrey said in a Proclamation issued Tuesday, “…the Clare Fire Department has very regrettably lost one of

Chief Chapman spoke to the media about the department’s loss with the sudden death of Lt. Ethan Gage. Photo by P. Maurer

Chief Chapman spoke to the media about the department’s loss with the sudden death of Lt. Ethan Gage.
Photo by P. Maurer

its most highly respected and most endeared firefighters and its training officer, Ethan Gage, in a tragic accident. On behalf of all of the citizen of the City of Clare, I offer to Ethan’s wife, to Ethan’s two young daughters, to Ethan’s mother and father (Norm and Carol Gage) and to all of Ethan’s family members the City’s most sincere condolences and deepest-felt sympathy on the loss of Ethan.”

Humphrey’s proclamation continued, “…that Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 shall be an official day of recognition and mourning within the City of Clare to honor the life, the memory, and the service of Firefighter Ethan Gage.”

Ethan’s funeral was scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Brown Corners Church. Visitation was scheduled for Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
A GoFundme account has been created in his memory: https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-ethan-gage.

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