A tiny community in Calumet County is struggling to come to terms with a firefighter’s death, in the wake of an explosion at an industrial plant which also left nine members of the department injured and much of its equipment damaged.
St. Anna Fire Department Captain Adam Schuh had a difficult time dealing with the death of one of his firefighters, 33 year-old Steve “Peanut” Koeser, during a Wednesday press conference. Schuh said an explosion occurred in a dumpster which was on fire at Bremer Manufacturing, a foundry located in the rural town northwest of Sheboygan. Schuh’s voice cracked and he fought back tears as he offered condolences to Koeser’s family. Schuh said Koeser had been a member of the volunteer department for 15 years. “He was a good firefighter, and he died doing what he loved.”
Captain Adam Schuh (:35) AUDIO: Adam Schuh (:35 MP3)
Firefighters were dispatched to the plant at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, after a sheriff’s deputy called in the fire inside a dumpster adjacent to the plant. The explosion occurred as firefighters attempted to extinguish the blaze. Schuh said the death of Koeser and the injuries will make it difficult for his 25 member department to move forward. “Even when we are physically ready to be up and running again, I don’t know if we’ll be emotionally ready,” he said. “We’ll take that one day at a time.”
St. Anna is located at the intersection of Calumet County highways A and Q, and Sheboygan County H, about 25 miles northwest of Sheboygan.