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Syracuse Fire Chief fighting for his life after accident

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A local fire chief is fighting for his life. The chief of the Syracuse Volunteer Fire Department remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma. This is after an accident at a local fair left him with severe brain damage.

On Saturday Eric Fass was just helping his daughter show livestock that’s when a day of fun turned scary.

“Eric’s a joyful guy,” said Pastor Andrew Degolyer a friend of Eric. “He’s a fun guy he’s just one of the guys you want to talk to and drink a beer with.”

36-year-old Eric Fass was walking livestock from a building to a ring across the street when a car backfired and spooked the cattle.

“Being a cattleman when the cow was running Eric was holding the cow and trying to stop it, he got tripped and fell and hit his head on the road on the curb,” said Pastor Degolyer.

Eric’s friends tell 10/11 NOW his brain injuries are severe. He underwent emergency surgery to remove a piece of his skull for swelling and continues to have internal brain bleeding.

“He actually had to be resuscitated after he fell,” said Pastor DeGolyer. “He’s in a drug-induced coma while they’re allowing the brain swelling to go down.”

Eric is known as a pillar of the community. He’s been the fire chief since last year and a farmer outside of that. Syracuse firefighters tell 10/11 NOW it’s one of the hardest things to hit the station in a while.

DeGolyer says since the accident the community continues to step up by doing everything from tending to his livestock to watching his two young boys so his wife can be at the hospital.

“It makes you know why you live in a small town,” said Pastor DeGolyer. “I mean it has been absolutely amazing”

DeGolyer said in conversations with doctors and Eric’s wife, Amanda, that the next 24 hours are vital when it comes to that brain swelling.

His friend adds that it hasn’t gotten any worse, but it hasn’t gotten any better since it happened, so tonight and leading into tomorrow are pretty critical for that to start happening for us to see some kind of improvement.

The community has also created a CaringBridge website to help with donations and fundraising. Also, in September they’re hosting a tractor poker run for Eric’s family.

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