Despite rain, community shows support for fallen Wisconsin firefighter with procession

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After more than 30 years with the River Falls Fire Department, Edward Nicholson had his last call on Friday. Sadly, Nicholson will also be laid to rest soon.

“He’s going to leave a void in River Falls Fire,” River Falls Fire Chief Scott Nelson said.

“Eddie is one-of-a-kind, and the outpouring of support and sympathy has just been incredible,” Nelson added.

Nicholson had a lot of hats — on top of the decades with the fire department as a second-generation firefighter, he also was a tow truck driver and worked at a local racetrack.

At 9:01 p.m. on Friday, 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 deputies, Nicholson was assisting with clearing the track when one of the damaged buses rolled onto him — he did not survive his injuries.

Photo credit: Kelly Gunderson 

Nicholson was eventually transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, but on Sunday, it was time for him to go home. Because he devoted so much of his life to his family, friends, and community, a procession followed Nicholson from St. Paul. 

Despite rainy conditions, they were met in River Falls with an outpouring of support, including a line of fellow firefighters and community members lining the street. Chief Nelson was seen carrying Nicholson's helmet to his resting place. 

Details about a funeral have not been released and the incident at the race track is still under investigation.