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Washington State Fire Chief Dies in ATV Rollover

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Adams County, WAInvestigators are looking into the death of a Washington state fire chief who was apparently killed in an ATV rollover while fighting a fire.

Chet Bauermeister was 46 years old and had been the fire chief for Franklin Fire District 4 in Basin City since 2003, reports the Spokesman Review. He was fighting a fire on a steep slope of Saddle Mountain in Adams County when the tracked ATV he was operating lost traction, according to officials from Adams Fire District 5.

The vehicle flipped over backwards after it lost its grip on the terrain and rolled 100 feet down the slope. Ryan F. Theroff, a 29-year-old firefighter with Franklin Fire District 4 who was also riding on the ATV, was thrown from the vehicle and suffered minor injuries.

Bauermeister was the third ever fire chief for Fire District 4, having taken over from his father, Don, in 2003.

"It's pretty tough right now," Lonnie Voelz, a former Fire District 4 commissioner, told the news source. "He's going to be missed."

ATVSafety.gov estimates that there were 816 ATV-related deaths in the U.S. during 2007.

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