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Muscatine Firefighter remembered 20 years after on-duty death

Mike Kruse died in the line of duty on Sept. 14, 2002 after he fell from the roof of a burning house.
Credit: Muscatine City Hall

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Mike Kruse made the ultimate sacrifice on Sept.14, 2002, when he and 10 other firefighters responded to a house fire in Muscatine at the intersection of Orange and East 6th streets. 

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found a wooden three-story house engulfed in flames. Kruse was one of the two firefighters working on the house's roof when he fell through, into the burning building.

Kruse was 53 years old and a 27-year veteran of the Muscatine Fire Department. He remains the only Muscatine firefighter to die in the line of duty, the only Iowa firefighter to lose their life while on duty in 2002 and the 131st in the state of Iowa since record-keeping began in 1890.

Jerry Ewers, now the Muscatine Fire Chief, fondly remembers Kruse and what he brought to the crew.

“He was a true firefighter dedicated to protecting property and saving lives,” Ewers said. “He was very detail oriented, liked everything clean and in its place, and took his job very seriously.”

Kruse was remembered on Wednesday, Sept. 14 with the laying of a wreath, placing of structural firefighting gear and a moment of silence at the Muscatine Firefighters Memorial commemorating the 20th anniversary of his death.

Credit: Muscatine city Hall

“We have gathered here to commemorate that tragic event that took one of our own and left behind a painful gap in our ranks. We will continue to do this as long as the Muscatine Fire Department is in existence" Ewers said. 

Muscatine’s Firefighters Memorial is located at the intersection of Cedar and 5th Streets.

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