Family, Friends Remember Forada Firefighter who Died after Apparent Assault

May 14, 2018 10:50 PM

Everybody in Forada knew Steve Hlinsky.

Not by his actual name, but by his nickname "Beaver."

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The 46-year-old was a farmer, longtime firefighter and a father of two kids, Abby and Dominic.

 "My dad told me giving back to the community was so important, helping people in need," Dominic Hlinsky said.

Steve Hlinsky was at his son's home Sunday continuing to recover after being released from the St. Cloud Hospital two days before. He was later found unconscious. Hlinsky's fellow Forada firefighters were the first responders at the scene.

RELATED: Man Injured in Apparent Bar Assault in Douglas County Dies Week Later 

"When you know where you're going, it makes it worse," Forada Fire Chief Bob Steidl said. "And the end result really gets a person. 

His death is now under criminal investigation by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

"This whole thing is unnecessary and shouldn't have ended this way," Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen said. 

The sheriff said if Hlinsky's death is related to injuries he suffered during an assault on May 5, it could lead to criminal charges. 

He was airlifted to the hospital on May 5 after he was reportedly found on the sidewalk bleeding from the nose and ear at the Muddy Foot Bar in Forada. Authorities responded to a report of an assault at the bar around 12:56 a.m.

Surveillance cameras on the building indicate several people were involved in the assault on Hlinsky.

Hlinsky was expected to recover from his injuries, however, he was found unresponsive at his home Sunday.

The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office is expected to perform an autopsy on Hlinsky. 

"We are absolutely shocked, we are still shocked," Dominic Hlinsky said. "It's hard to believe because he was doing so well." 

Hlinsky's relatives gathered at the family's farm Monday to console each other and share who he was with others. 

"He always wanted to help everybody," Dominic Hlinsky said.

Steidl said he had known Steve Hlinsky since high school. He said Hlinsky loved his family, firefighting, farming, golf and his hometown of Forada. 

As loved ones reflect, authorities have been interviewing people seen on security footage from cameras at the bar. 

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said no one has been arrested as of Monday. 

Credits

Beth McDonough

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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