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Fire chief killed in ATV rollover

Investigators are continuing to look into the death of a rural Franklin County fire chief killed while fighting a brush fire Wednesday in Adams County.

Chief Chet Bauermeister, who led Franklin Fire District 4 in Basin City since late 2003, was operating a tracked ATV on a steep slope of Saddle Mountain when the ATV lost traction, Adams Fire District 5 officials said.

The rig flipped backward and rolled about 100 feet down the hill, officials said.

Bauermeister, 46, died at the scene.

Another firefighter from Fire District 4, Ryan F. Theroff, 29, was thrown from the rig and suffered minor injuries. He was treated at Othello Community Hospital and later released.

The 42-acre brush fire broke out around 2:45 p.m. in the area of Hart Road and Highway 24, south of Othello.

Bauermeister was the third chief for Fire District 4, taking over the job from his father, Don Bauermeister, the district’s second chief, near the end of 2003.

“It’s pretty tough right now,” said Lonnie Voelz, a former Fire District 4 commissioner, Wednesday evening. “He’s going to be missed.”

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