A fallen Muscatine firefighter will be remembered in a service to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

Firefighter Michael Kruse was 53 years old and a 27-year veteran of the Muscatine Fire Department when he lost his life on the night of September 14, 2002 battling a house fire. Kruse is the only Muscatine firefighter to die in the line of duty, the only Iowa firefighter to lose their life while on duty in 2002 and the 131st in Iowa since record-keeping began in 1890. Muscatine Fire Department’s Green Shift responded to a structure fire at 10:30 p.m. that night, a wooden three-story multi-family home at the intersection of Orange and East 6th streets. Kruse was one of two firefighters who were working on the structure’s roof when he fell through and into the structure below.

Firefighter Michael Kruse (muscatineiowa.gov)

Jerry Ewers, now Muscatine Fire Chief, remembers the night Kruse lost his life. When Ewers arrived at the scene, he issued an all-call to relieve Green Shift in containing the fire. “The tragedy suffered by Green Shift was felt by all those who came to the scene,” Ewers said. “But it was best to relieve that shift and allow them to grieve. We still had a job to do, but it was a very emotional night.”

(muscatineiowa.gov)

Kruse will be remembered during a special service Wednesday, September 14, with the laying of a wreath, placing of structural firefighting gear and a moment of silence at the Firefighters Memorial to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death. Muscatine’s Firefighters Memorial is located at the intersection of Cedar and 5th streets in Muscatine.

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