'It's heartbreaking': Veteran firefighter remembered after death at Wisconsin racetrack

[anvplayer video=”4905977″ station=”998122″]

A safety crew member assisting with a collision on the Cedar Lake Speedway race track died after one of the damaged buses rolled onto him Friday night, according to the St. Croix Sheriff's Office. 

At 9:01 p.m., the St. Croix County Emergency Communication Center received a 911 call for someone who was injured at Cedar Lake Speedway in Star Prairie Township. 

“The bus hit a pit-maneuver and it flipped,” said Blaine Guthrie, a witness. “[It] rolled over, and a big explosion, [then] an engine on fire.”

According to police, a member of the crew, Edward A. Nicholson, 62, from River Falls, was assisting with clearing the track when one of the damaged buses rolled onto him. 

Nicholson was extricated and lifesaving efforts were attempted by emergency personnel. 

He was later pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Croix County Medical Examiner, police said. 

“He put a lot of things before himself, and in our relationship, too,” said Kathy Straub, Nicholson’s life partner. “He's a good man.”

Nicholson was a 30-year veteran at the River Falls Fire Department and also worked as an EMT. 

“We all loved him. It's heartbreaking,” said River Falls Fire Department Chief Scott Nelson.

The picture above was taken before the accident, Nicholson is standing on the left in the blue shirt. (Photo courtesy: Edward Nicholson's family)

About a decade ago, Nicholson was awarded firefighter of the year.

“Eddie was larger than life in a small community. He was a local hero. He served everybody, every day,” said Lisa Moody, a family friend. “He just has left a very large pair of boots to fill.”

Nicholson also did some towing work with Twin Cities towing. 

Cedar Lake Speedway released a statement: 

“Cedar Lake Speedway is mourning the loss of a long time member of our racing family.  Eddie Nicholson died from injuries sustained while clearing the track of an incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this very difficult time.  Thanks to all of the emergency personnel that responded Friday night.  Eddie will be greatly missed.”

The incident remains under investigation. More information is expected to be released at a later time.