An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Thomas “Emmett” James Kuehl

Firefighter

Firefighter/EMT Kuehl and the members of his fire department were dispatched to a controlled burn that had become out of control. The incident was located approximately 10 miles outside of the city. During the fire fight, two fire apparatus became stuck in a field. Firefighter/EMT Kuehl was at the wheel of one of the trucks as it was being pulled by a tractor. The tow rope disengaged from the tractor and the tension in the rope caused it to recoil toward the fire apparatus operated by Firefighter/EMT Kuehl. Firefighter/EMT Kuehl was struck in the forehead area by a shackle attached to the tow rope. Emergency responders were called to the scene and treatment was provided to Firefighter/EMT Kuehl. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and subsequently transferred by medical helicopter to a regional care facility. Firefighter/EMT Kuehl had sustained a severe head injury and died on April 11, 2006.
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Thomas “Emmett” James Kuehl was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.

Department information

Elkton Volunteer Fire Department
PO Box 264
503 Antelope Street
Elkton, South Dakota 57026

Chief: Ryan Bebensee

View NIOSH Report

Age: 38
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Volunteer
Incident date: April 8, 2006 16:27
Date of death: April 11, 2006
Cause of death: Struck By
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property

Last updated: March 01, 2016

Watch America’s Tribute to Fallen Firefighters

Honoring line-of-duty deaths in 2019