Updated: 04-29-2003 11:54:43 AM

Mower Accident Claims Illinois Firefighter

Firehouse.Com News

The Bourbonnais Fire Protection District in Bourbonnais, Illinois lost one of their members Saturday, April 26 when a firefighter was critically injured while mowing the fire station's lawn.

Bruce Spaulding, 49, from Bourbonnais, died at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood. He had served for the Bradley, Illinois Fire Department for 21 years prior to his retirement from Bradley. He had been a part-time employee of the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District since January 1, 2000. He had also been a Kankakee Area Career Center instructor, a vocational school that was made up of high school juniors and seniors, said Deputy Chief James Keener. Since the mid-1990s, he taught a two-year fire/rescue course at the career center.

The lawn accident occurred when Spaulding was doing station duties, mowing the Armour Road station's lawn. Kenner said that as a part of the fire station's part-time program, he was working a shift as an engineer.

Spaulding was riding on the lawn mower when he hit a two step retaining wall. Both the lawnmower and Spaulding flew over the wall. He was thrown off of the lawnmower and went over the edge, down into the ditch and into a decorative stone. The lawnmower remained on the incline halfway between the embankment and the decorative stone. An autopsy is being performed today to gain more clarification about the situation, said Kenner.

Spaulding was first rushed to Provena St. Mary's Hospital in Kankakee. After being evaluated he was then flown by helicopter to Loyola Medical Center. Spaulding was very well liked and will certainly be missed, said Deputy Chief Keener. Spaulding is survived by his widow Denise, children Becky and Brian and step children, Krista and Andrew.

Visitation is Thursday at Schreffler Funeral Home at 1100 N. Convent, Bourbonnais, IL 60914. (815)929-1401. Visitation Hours are 2-8 p.m. A Firefighter walk-thru will be taken place at 8 p.m.

Funeral services are Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 348 E. Merchant, Kankakee, IL. 60901. Visitation at the church will start at 9 a.m. until services. Burial will in Memorial Gardens, 15 S. 3000E Road, Kankakee, IL. 60901. A meal will follow at College Church of the Nazarene at 200 University Avenue, Bourbonnais, IL. 60914.

Memorials are set up for the following: Their children's education or Bourbonnais Fire Protection District

Cards can be sent to: Denise Spaulding c/o Bourbonnais Fire Protection District 1080 Armour Road Bourbonnais, IL 60914 www.bourbonnaisfire.org