Firefighters say 14-year-old veteran Tim Tripp suffered a serious head injury on Saturday morning and is currently in intensive care at a local hospital.
MINNETONKA, Minn. — Firefighters are used to getting the call, one that sends them out into the community to save a life, but they rarely get the call that involves one of their own.
“That’s the call you never want to get. We knew it was bad from the start,” Minnetonka Fire Chief John Vance said.
Vance got the call early Saturday morning after one of his firefighters was injured during a routine training exercise in Minnetonka.
Vance says 14-year-old veteran Tim Tripp slipped on a patch of ice and hit his head on the ground.
“It was a typical formation. It’s something he’s done literally a thousand times before. He was right on a patch of ice and had a bad fall,” Vance explains.
The fall caused a serious head injury that required immediate attention.
“He’s on life support right now, supporting him while his brain heals. He’s had to have at least four surgeries to relieve the pressure on his brain,” Vance said.
“It’s going to be a long hall for him with his recovery.”
Chief Vance says doctors will likely keep Tripp in a coma for several weeks so he can recover, and they don’t know what condition he’ll be in when he wakes up.
“He’s one of the best people you would want to meet. Firefighters look up to him. He helps mentor and train firefighters.”
Vance says Tripp is considered a paid-on-call firefighter.
He works as a part-time firefighter in addition to a full-time construction job and is also the father of three sons.
Vance says the firefighter’s insurance policy covers Tim’s medical expenses and workers’ compensation covers his lost wages — but they don’t cover everything. That’s why he’s so relieved to see the community step in with an overwhelming amount of donations for his family.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, a GoFundMe page for Tim Tripp had already raised more than $33,000.
“It lets them know the community cares about him and that it’s one less thing to worry about so they can focus on his recovery.”
Vance says this outpouring of support also sends a strong message to his firefighters, who have had a tough week responding to 911 calls while dealing with a tragedy of their own.
“Immediately there were six different calls right after this happened, one after another, and our teams continued to respond. It was difficult at times. It just doesn’t stop,” Vance says.
If you would like to help the department and the Tripp family, you can check out their GoFundMe page here.
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