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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Victim of Minnesota hurricane crushed by grain bin was volunteer firefighter going outside to find out the weather

A woman surveys damages Friday, May 13, 2022, at Ericsson Farms outside Blomkest, Minn. Volunteer firefighter Ryan Leif Erickson, 63, was killed at his farm on Thursday night when a grain bin was blown up by strong winds and fell on him as he prepares to leave his farm for hurricane watching duty. Had been. (Maisie Moore / Forum News Service)

BLOMKEST, Minn. — A west-central Minnesota volunteer firefighter who was on his way to hurricane-watching duty died Thursday evening as a result of tornadoes passing through that area.

Ryan Leif Erickson, 63, was identified Friday as a victim of the storm by Kandiohi County Sheriff Eric Hollian. Erikson died in the line of duty when a large grain bin was blown over by strong winds and fell on him as he was preparing to leave his farm to monitor storms near Blomkest.

According to a news release from the sheriff’s office, the Kandiohi County Sheriff’s Office received a call at the address of rural Lake Lillian at around 7 p.m. Thursday, reporting Erikson was missing.

According to the news release, emergency responders rushed to the search and found Erikson at the bottom of a broken grain bin. Erikson’s body was taken to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office in Ramsey.

Eriksson was very involved in the Blomkest community, and had been there since he was young. According to Blomcast City Clerk Barbara Gilberts, he became a volunteer firefighter at the age of 18. He was also a former fire chief, serving in that position for nearly five years.

Portrait of Ryan Leaf Eriksson with a fire truck.
Ryan Leif Erickson (Forum News Service)

According to the Gilberts, he was also the former owner of Erickson Plumbing and Heating, but he recently sold his business and was working at Perkins Lumber.

“He was very famous because he took part in so many things. If there was anything you needed a volunteer for, he was one of the first to volunteer,” Gilberts said, noting that he was a township board member. Was a member of and was part of the Rural Electric Board. “He was the originator of small town life. He loved his city and was involved in it.”

He noted that he was renowned for his creativity, and because of this he was always the last float in the Blomkest parade. Gilberts said that he was also fond of golfing and could often be seen on the golf course in his spare time.

Erikson leaves behind wife Kelly, two grown daughters and four grandchildren.

“For me, if you want to make a difference, you have to participate, and that’s what he did,” Gilberts said.

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