Powerful Michigan Winter Storm Takes the Life of a Firefighter and Leaves Thousands Without Power

Ethan Quillen, 28

Lieutenant Ethan Quillen, a 28-year-old volunteer firefighter in Michigan, was killed while responding to a call about a tree branch on a power line.

A powerful winter storm that hit parts of Michigan has left thousands without power and taken the life of a volunteer firefighter.

Volunteer firefighter Lieutenant Ethan Quillen, 28, was responding to a call on Wednesday about a tree branch on a power line that was on fire, according to the Paw Paw Fire Department

As the fire crew was securing the scene, the tree branch fell, causing the power line to fall and strike Quillen, electrocuting him, said the fire department. 

Quillen was transported to a hospital but died from his injuries, the fire department said. 

“Firefighter Ethan Quillen will always be remembered for his endless love for his wife and daughter. For his love for his country and his community. Ethan was selfless, kind, loving, hard working, and so much more,” read a GoFundMe created to help support his family in the wake of his death.

The tree branch fell on the power line as a result of the intense winds of the severe winter storm that has hit parts of Michigan.

“With high winds continuing today, it's important to be cautious of downed power lines. Stay at least 25 feet away from downed lines and avoid touching anything it may be in contact with,” warned Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday evening. 

Due to the severe weather, many remain without power in the southern parts of Michigan. According to PowerOutage.us, 732,636 customers in total are without power in the state, with most of the outages occurring in Lenawee and Jackson counties.

DTE Energy, one of the power companies that had the most customers without power posted an update Friday about their progress in restoring power lines.

“160,000 DTE customers have been restored since the heavy ice storm rolled through Southern Michigan Wednesday and Thursday," the company said in a statement. "Today crews are working to restore power to 200,000 more customers. Estimated restoration times will be updated on the DTE outage map early this afternoon. We have 3,400 employees in the field with additional crews joining hourly."

The ice storm was said to be one of the most widespread ice storms to hit some Detroit communities since April 2003, the National Weather Service reported. 

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