By Associated Press - Thursday, March 11, 2021

FORT CALHOUN, Neb. (AP) - A volunteer with a fire department in the Omaha area has died while helping fight a brush fire near Fort Calhoun.

Dennis Bender was a volunteer with the Ponca Hills Fire Department. He suffered a medical emergency on Wednesday and died as he helped battle the large blaze in Washington County fueled by dry brush and strong winds, Ponca Hills Fire Chief Joel Sacks said. Crews had the fire under control by Wednesday evening.

Bender was one of dozens of crews from several department called in to help. Sacks said Bender was one of the state’s longest-serving paramedics and had served in the Ponca Hills department for 50 years.

Fort Calhoun is about 14 miles north of Omaha. Ponca Hills is a community in far north Omaha.

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