GYPSUM, Colo. (CBS4) – The tight-knit community of Gypsum is honoring a firefighter who was killed by a Department of Transportation front end loader as he worked in a construction zone over the weekend. Eric Hill was a firefighter in the town for nearly 20 years.

(credit: Gypsum Fire Protection District)

“He was raised here and has a tie to everybody here,” said Gypsum Fire Protection District Justin Kirkland.

(credit: CBS)

Hill, 51, was with the Gypsum Fire Protection District for 19 years as a volunteer and paid lieutenant and EMT. He also served as a lieutenant with the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District before that.

(credit: CBS)

“I’m trying to process and figure out what really happened and what we can do to come together as a community and as a family… and help each other,” said Kirkland.

(credit: CBS)

Hill also worked for the Colorado Department of Transportation. He was part of a maintenance operation working on a frontage road near Gypsum when he was killed on Saturday.

(credit: CBS)

“The advantage of a small community is you can help each other and come together and that also means that when these tragedies happen that these are big blows,” said Kirkland.

(credit: CBS)

Emergency crews answered the call to help Hill’s fellow firefighters grieve.

(credit: CBS)

“In emergency services, it’s one big family and we’ve actually got a truck down here from the Eagle River Fire Protection District who stayed overnight and are
here throughout the day and will be here as long as we need them to be,” said volunteer firefighter Jennifer Kirkland.

(credit: CBS)

Hill grew up in Gypsum. He graduated high school in 1986 and served in the U.S. Air Force.

(credit: CBS)

“Every single firefighter here has been taken under Eric’s wing and been mentored in some way,” said Jennifer Kirkland.

(credit: CBS)

CDOT said Hill’s death is under investigation. CDOT says it is working with the Colorado State Patrol in the investigation.

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