Minnesota State Patrol have identified the Beartown Firefighters killed in the fatal crash in Blaine, Minnesota on Saturday. According to police, 25-year-old Alan J. Swartz of Baraga, and 23-year-old James F. Shelifoe of Baraga were killed in the crash when their truck drove off the road, struck the median cable, and rolled several times.
Several others were seriously injured in the crash, including the driver, Michael A. Johnson (29) of Baraga, and the passengers, Dave R. Varline (26) of Baraga, Ross J. Jaukkuri (33) of Baraga, Gavin C. Loonsfoot (34) of Baraga, Tyler J. Tolonen (26) of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Joseph Jossens of Michigan, and Shashaywin D. Sandman Shelifoe (29), of Minnesota. Physical conditions of each person is unknown at this time, but all injured firefighters are expected to recover.
The accident happened Southbound on Interstate 35W at 95th Avenue around 3 p.m. CST., and investigators still are trying to determine what caused the truck to leave the interstate.
The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has released a statement about the accident. The Beartown Firefighters is a firefighting crew jointly managed by the KBIC and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The crew was on their way to help fight the Box Canyon wildfire in Utah, according to Tribal leaders.